The Greek word sitos, from which the term sitophobia was born, means grain.

In 1859, in the American Journal of Insanity, William Stout Chipley (1810-1880) published the first American description of sitophobia, a "phase of insanity" characterized by intense dread of food.

The appearance of this term was an expression of ninteenth-century asylum medicine's interest in enlarging the definition of insanity.

The sitophobe usually said eating was too stressful or that she had no appetite. Unlike with anorexia mirabilis, the girl claimed no special powers. Not eating was simply her special accomplishment and her way pf extracting sympathy and exerting power over people. The victims were described as having a "willful compulsion to starve."

The term sitophobia eventually evolved into the neurological conception of hysterical anorexia, and later to the modern disease of anorexia nervosa.

Most info found in
Fasting Girls by Brumberg.

Si`to*pho"bi*a (?), n. [NL., fr. Gr. food + fear.] Med.

A version to food; refusal to take nourishment.

[Written also sitiophobia.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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