Orthorexia

Orthorexia


Doodlebrary

Doodlebrary

April 24, 2024

  • Orthorexia nervosa is a term used to describe a potentially unhealthy obsession with eating “healthy” or “pure” foods.
  • It’s not an officially recognized eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as of my last knowledge update in September 2021, but it has been a subject of concern in the field of eating disorders and mental health.
  • Individuals with orthorexia are excessively preoccupied with the quality and purity of the foods they consume, often to the detriment of their physical and emotional well-being.
  • Unlike other eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, which focus on the quantity of food consumed, orthorexia is primarily concerned with the perceived healthiness of food.
  • Characteristics and behaviors associated with orthorexia may include:
  • Obsessive focus on food quality: Constantly researching, reading, and learning about what is considered “clean” or “healthy” eating. This often involves strict dietary rules and restrictions.
  • Rigid dietary restrictions: Eliminating entire food groups, such as carbohydrates, fats, or processed foods, and experiencing significant anxiety or distress when these foods are consumed.
  • Social isolation: Avoiding social situations that involve food, as it may not meet their stringent criteria for “clean” eating. This can lead to strained relationships.
  • Physical consequences: Nutritional deficiencies, weight loss or malnutrition, and physical health problems may result from extreme dietary restrictions.
  • Emotional distress: Feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety when unable to adhere to their strict dietary rules, and a preoccupation with thoughts of food and eating.
  • It’s important to note that caring about nutrition and making healthy food choices is not inherently problematic.
  • However, when this concern becomes an unhealthy obsession that negatively impacts a person’s physical and emotional well-being and their ability to lead a normal life, it may be a sign of orthorexia.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with orthorexia or any eating-related concerns, it’s crucial to seek help from a healthcare provider or mental health professional who specializes in eating disorders.
  • Treatment may involve therapy, counseling, and nutritional guidance to address both the physical and psychological aspects of the condition.
  • Early intervention can help prevent the development of more severe eating disorders and improve overall well-being.

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