Arthur Hamilton Crisp

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 08 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:540

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  1. Caroline Richmond

    Psychiatrist who defined anorexia nervosa

    We owe our understanding of anorexia nervosa to Arthur Crisp, who earned an international reputation for the meticulous research that enabled him to define its core feature: the fear and avoidance of normal body weight. He defined the factors that contribute to the disorder's development, and these have stood the test of time. His treatment programme was, in its day, considered the gold standard. A mild, unpretentious, generous, and approachable man, he also carried out research (behavioural, psychodynamic, and epidemiological) into sleep disorders, psychological factors in heart attacks, migraine, obesity, and smoking. His humanistic approach was to define each patient's social, biological, and psychological features, and he used a range of pharmacological and psychological therapies. He developed psychiatric services around St George's Hospital in south west London, and incorporated Springfield, the local psychiatric unit, into the teaching hospital framework. He developed a wide range of specialised psychiatric services.

    He …

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