Author: Hilde Bruch
Anorexia nervosa became a modern clinical entity with the reports by Gull in England, and Lasegue in France, just 100 years ago, and the picture has remained alive in medical thinking. Occasional references to a condition of
self-inflicted starvation have been discovered in the older literature. Richard Morton is commonly credited with the earliest medical report, in 1689, of hat he called a “Nervous Consumption.” His crisp description, “a skeleton
only clad with skin,” immediately evokes the most dramatic aspect of the condition. The medical literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries contains occasional references to self-inflicted emaciation which have been
mentioned in several recent monographs.