Some of the earliest records of bulimic behavior were recorded in ancient Egyptian and Roman cultures. In ancient Egypt, there was a strong belief that the most prominent reason for disease and deaths was due to the food that was eaten. Therefore, it was common for physicians to recommend vomiting, one of the most distinguished characteristics of bulimia nervosa, to their patients. Bulimic behavior was common in Roman culture for completely different reasons. The people, especially the royals, valued overeating and feasts. To prevent from getting sick, the people would resort to vomiting so frequently, it became a habit.Cognitive Behavior Treatment Analyzing Bulimia Behaviors
Although bulimic behaviors had been noticed in ancient times, it wasn’t until the 19th century that the history of the disorder of bulimia nervosa truly began. In 1873, William Gull first started noticing that his patients were losing their appetite without signs of gastric problems. His claims were followed by those of Ernes Charles Lasegue, who also described the same symptoms in his female patients. In 1874, Gull described this condition as anorexia nervosa, a condition found in males and females due to a physical condition affecting the brain. To truly understand the history of bulimia nervosa, it is important to acknowledge that, at that time, bulimia nervosa was considered as a form of anorexia nervosa, not a separate disorder; therefore, the symptoms of bulimia nervosa were categorized as anorexia nervosa. It was not until the 20th century that bulimia nervosa took its own course. In 1903, Pierre Janet noticed that some of the behaviors he noticed in his anorexia patients were not matching up with typical symptoms. Some of his patients were excessively eating, something that anorexia patients are not fond of. This revelation started farther research of these bulimic behaviors. In 1930, bulimia nervosa was characterized as a disorder, and 40 years later it was established as a distinct disorder from anorexia nervosa. Finally, in 1979, Gerald Russel wrote the first scientific paper about bulimia nervosa and how its symptoms show its distinctiveness from anorexia nervosa. From the time that the disorder was acknowledged by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980, to now, bulimia nervosa has evolved in many ways. Although the symptoms of the disorder remain mostly the same, one of the biggest factors that revolves around modern bulimia nervosa is that patients have a fear of becoming fat. This fear has led to an increase in the occurrence of bulimia nervosa in western, urbanized countries in recent times.