What is Orthorexia? Signs and Symptoms of Orthorexia Orthorexia vs. Other Eating Disorders Causes and Risk Factors of Orthorexia Diagnosis of Orthorexia Treatment of Orthorexia
Orthorexia is a term used to describe a pattern of disordered eating that involves an excessive preoccupation with consuming foods that are perceived as healthy or “pure.” Unlike other eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, orthorexia is not yet officially recognized as a clinical diagnosis. However, it is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and emotional well-being.
People with orthorexia may become obsessed with following a restrictive diet that is focused on avoiding certain foods or food groups that they believe to be unhealthy or harmful. They may spend hours researching and planning their meals, and may feel anxious or guilty when they are unable to follow their strict dietary guidelines.
In some cases, orthorexia can lead to malnutrition, as people may cut out entire food groups or severely restrict their calorie intake. This can result in a range of physical symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. Additionally, the intense focus on food and diet can lead to social isolation and a preoccupation with food that interferes with other aspects of a person’s life.
Treatment for orthorexia typically involves a combination of psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, and support from a healthcare team. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be particularly helpful in addressing the underlying beliefs and thought patterns that contribute to orthorexia. In some cases, medications may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Overall, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of orthorexia and seek help if you or someone you know may be struggling with this condition. Early intervention can improve outcomes and prevent the development of more serious health complications.