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Keywords:

  • anorexia nervosa;
  • pica;
  • impulsivity

Abstract

We report two cases of pathological ingestion of salt as a feature of anorexia nervosa, which we have previously termed “salinophagia.” Both cases were young women with anorexia nervosa of the purging subtype and of sufficient severity to necessitate inpatient treatment. In both instances, excessive quantities of salt were ingested in the context of treatment programs requiring nutritional rehabilitation, and motivated by a wish to despoil the food and render it distasteful, to rob its ingestion of any hedonic qualities. In one instance, this behavior pattern was imitated by other patients on the unit. Having first briefly described salinophagia in 1999, the first author has received considerable correspondence from other specialists suggesting that this is not an isolated phenomenon. The issues of phenomenology and treatment are further discussed. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord, 2010