Health Fitness admin  

History of bulimia and how it became a new problem

The history of bulimia is old. Even in ancient Rome, people used to vomit the food that they ate in the period of the festival. They even had special places for it called “vomitorium”. There are many memories about these events in the books of ancient Rome. The Roman emperors Claudius and Vitellius were bulimics.

Some other cultures, such as the ancient Egyptians, purged themselves every month for three days in a row, using emetics and clisters to preserve health. They thought that human diseases come from food.

In Europe in the Middle Ages, purging was used as a remedy for many illnesses and was advocated by the doctors of the Middle Ages.

In ancient Greece and Arabia there were also descriptions in the texts of bingeing and purging.

But all of these ancient bingeing and purging practices are similar but not the same as what we now call “bulimia.” There was no evidence of a drive for thinness which is the obvious trait in all modern bulimics; in fact, the slender women did not have the normal shape of women.

From the evidence that has been reported it is obvious that bulimia nervosa as it now stands was an unknown disease until the late 20th century.

In the 1970s, cases were described in the medical literature of three patients in which overeating alternated with undereating and was classified as anorexia nervosa. One patient vomited and the other two took a lot of laxatives to get rid of food.

The first description of modern bulimia nervosa was published in 1979 by Dr. Russell. He stated in the result of his investigation that overeating and self-induced vomiting may have been common practices among normal female students attending American universities. He mentioned that the condition was always more relevant to women.

There is no doubt that incidents of bulimia increased significantly in the 1980s, surpassing incidents of anorexia nervosa.

There are still many questions about bulimia nervosa.

Questions like, is bulimia nervosa a new disease or is it the same disease that has been known for centuries, but that manifests itself in a different version? And what caused bulimia to increase so significantly in recent decades? Was it the modern pressure to be thin or more like inherited personality traits or both?

To conclude, bulimia as simple overeating has been known since ancient times. But the term “bulimia nervosa” cannot be applied to the cases recorded in the stories that were published before 1979. Simply because the motives in the past for overeating and then purging were different from today and the psychological aspects as well they were different.

The modern term “bulimia nervosa” means not only the simple practice of bingeing and purging, there are now certain personality traits behind the term. These traits include addictive tendencies, problems with impulse control, obsession with weight and general appearance, and certain personality disorders may be associated with the term bulimia nervosa.

So my own opinion is that bulimia nervosa is a new disease of our time that has arisen due to the intense pressure to look thin. Also the fact that many patients use them as a coping mechanism for the extra stress we have in our lives today.

Modern medicine has put all its trust in cognitive behavioral therapy to treat bulimia. Although there was some initial success, it has now become apparent that it is failing for the majority of patients as the disease continues to progress.

The new way forward in the treatment of the disease is to remove the subconscious blocks that have been shown to hinder and stop a person’s recovery. As more and more is known about how the mind works, medicine has to move with the flow of discoveries and not rely on outdated methodology.

But sadly, throughout history, medicine has never moved at a fast pace, so many patients who don’t find out about the newer methods will have to suffer unnecessarily until medicine catches up.

Learn more at

Leave A Comment