Anorexy, (from α, neg. and appetite): also apositia, asitia. A want of appetite, without loathing of food. The Greeks call such as take no food, or have no appetite, anorecti and asiti; but those who have an aversion to food, they call apositoi.
This disorder, when original, is caused by bad diet, and excess in eating or drinking. In old age it may proceed from weakness. But it is more frequently a symptom of some other disorder, particularly of fevers, and the cure depends on the removal of the original one. Dr. Cullen ranks this genus of disease in the class locales, and order dysorexiae. He seems to think it always symptomatic; yet points out two species, viz.
1. Anorexia humoralis, when the stomach is offended with mucous, bilious, or other humours.
2. Anorexia atonica, when the fibres of the stomach have lost their tone. He uses this word anorexia as synonymous with dyspepsia.
In the first species an emetic is highly necessary, and must be occasionally repeated, lengthening if possible the intervals; and during the interval, warm tonics and aromatics should be employed. From the emetics a large quantity of very viscid mucus is sometimes thrown up; and it has been an object to dissolve this substance, but no solvent has yet been found. We have tried lime water, pure kali, and ammonia, with little success. It must be occasionally discharged, and its accumulation prevented by aromatics and tonics. The whole tribe of astringents and stomachics have been employed, but scarcely any one merits a preference. Bile in the stomach produces anorexia and nausea, with a putrid taste, sensible on the back part of the tongue: this also must be discharged; but it may be corrected with lemon juice, though, in weak stomachs, a considerable commotion follows.
If excess in drinking is the cause, besides temperance and a light but cordial nourishing diet, with daily exercise, the dilute acid of vitriol with the bark, and, when circumstances admit, the waters of Bath, Buxton, Llandrindod, Pyrmont, and other chalybeates, will be serviceable.
If acids prevail in the primae vise, vegetables should be avoided, and the diet be chiefly of the animal kind. The drink may then be Seltzer water, or any of the chalybeate kind; magnesia, warmed with the oil of carui, is useful; or any of the warmer bitters with the pure kali.
If there are a nausea and aversion to food, the same remedies in general succeed as in a simple loss of appetite; the difference of the cases consisting only in the degree. Hoffman particularly commends mint and its preparations. See Apepsia.