By the time of Catherine of Siena, however, the Church became concerned about extreme fasting as an indicator of spirituality and as a criterion for sainthood.Indeed, Catherine of Siena was told by Church authorities to pray that she would be able to eat again, but was unable to give up fasting.He noted that she “lived without receiving meat or drink for at least three years.” The condition began on 15 February 1599, when Jane Balans was around 10 years old.
But under doctor's orders to avoid all study and to drink a bottle of Madeira per day, Dwight slowly regained his health over the next few months.
The use, and subsequent abandonment, of the term hysterica is of interest, since in the Victorian era the term was interpreted as applying to female behaviour.
In 1873, Gull wrote: We might call the state hysterical without committing ourselves to the etymological value of the word, or maintaining that the subjects of it have the common symptoms of hysteria.
A couple of years later, he suddenly became concerned that too much food was dulling his mind.
He began to reduce his intake to twelve mouthfuls at each meal; after six months of this experiment, he upped the ante, cutting out all meat and eating only vegetables--primarily potatoes.