For reasons unconnected to my own health I got very interested in Anorexia Nervosa about a year ago. While I was doing that I discovered something interesting: that Anorexia Nervosa is a new disease, really discovered only in the 1860s and made known in the 1870s.

There are a few clear cut cases before that, like Timothy Dwight:

But, basically Anorexia Nervosa hardly existed. But there was a similar condition in its place, Anorexia Miribalis. Same age group, same sex-bias (many more females than males), same symptoms, same outcome - either they got better or died - but totally different. The motivation was religious - holy fasting. Nothing to do with body image, nor as far as we can tell anything to do with wanting to be thin or to lose weight. They did it out of piety. Different but really the same.

Now I come across something called Orthorexia Nervosa. This is not a medically recognised condition, but it is put forward as an obsession with eating the right foods. Pure foods, free of chemical additives, unmanufactured, or free of animal products, or raw, or without pesticide, etc. It is the same effects as the other variants, affects the same age-group, has the same bias towards but not exclusive to girls, and has the same risks, and people also become obsessed, malnourished and also sometimes die from it. Like Anorexia Miribalis, it is different from Anorexia Nervosa, but really it is the same.

I propose these are three manifestations of the same illness (in time order):

I propose that this is really one illness, that should be rightly called Anorexia Realis, an underlying condition currently unknown - neither what it is nor why it happens. In fact, all the explanations so far contradict each other, yet they describe what is clearly the same condition. Like Australia, this condition now has a name before being discovered itself.

What I want to know is:

1. What real cause? - As opposed to the fake and contradictory causes currently held.
2. What other variants are there that we haven't noticed yet? Once you have three of a kind there are bound to be more.