History of Eating Disorders

Do you think Karen Carpenter was the first real case of an eating disorder? The historical development of eating disorders takes us back centuries which is mind boggling.

Binge eating, consumption of large amounts of food in a relatively short period of time followed by purging (vomitting) is referred to as the binge-purge cycle which is an ancient behavior. Romans and Greeks engaged in this behavior only so they could eat more, it was not for the purpose of losing weight. In the Roman culture around 300 B.C. if you were wealthy enough you possibly would have a vomitorium behind your main residence. Following a large feast you might excuse yourself to the vomitorium to rid yourself of the food just consumed so you could continue feasting.

Cretans supposedly developed a drug that would allow them to eat as much as they wanted and not gain weight which made the Greeks around 300 B.C. very envious. Being thin was a high priority of the Greeks. The Greek philosopher Socrates was known to dance every morning to keep his weight down. Plato another Greek philospher was permitted to be plump because of his high intellect. CB