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Anorexia means not eating. Anorexia nervosa is a form of self-starvation recorded in children for 600 years. Since the 19th century, it has been regarded as a form of protest, a response to childhood pressures, and a psychiatric illness or eating disorder. Mystics and gurus have refused food on a search for enlightenment for centuries. Some claim not to eat at all. Political prisoners also refuse to eat. The medieval practice of self-starvation by young women in the name of religious piety and purity (anorexia mirabilis) was common. Many future Christian saints engaged in self-starvation, including Saint Hedwig of Andechs in the 13th century and Catherine of Siena in the 14th century. The poor physical health of Mary, Queen of Scots, between the ages of ...

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