What Is Orthorexia?

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If you think health is everything, you may have some red flags that something is wrong.

Healthy eating is a positive, important part of life. If you’re concerned about making nutritious choices for your body, that’s a goal we can all get behind.

But there’s a line between being concerned about your health and being overly obsessed with your diet. There is a term for when you are concerned that you are eating too healthily. It’s called orthorexia, and it requires treatment. But what is orthorexia?

To distinguish between a healthy lifestyle and a mental disorder, consider what you do every day.

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We’ll cover the details to help you see for yourself.

What Is Orthorexia?

Orthorexia is a diet cause eating disorder characterized by an obsession with eating healthy food. It is similar to other eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, but additional factors come into play when talking about orthorexia.

People with orthorexia often become preoccupied with the healthfulness of what they eat. They strive to only eat food they deem “pure.”

It is important to treat and address orthorexia early to prevent the long-term effects of this disorder. The most common orthorexia treatment includes nutritional counseling, psychotherapy, and behavior therapy.

The goal of these types of treatments is to help the person with orthorexia. This is to establish regular eating habits and enjoy a wider variety of foods.

Signs and Symptoms

The individual typically excludes various food groups from their diet. Such as processed foods, dairy, added sugar, certain meats, and carbohydrates. Orthorexia has both physical and psychological symptoms that can raise red flags for those close to the individual.

These include fatigue, malnutrition, extreme weight loss, irritability, anxiety, depression, and fear of foods. Also, people with orthorexia may provide excuses for why they cannot eat certain things. They may become increasingly isolated around mealtimes.

The Risk

Over time, the individual becomes fixated on their diet and can become isolated from others due to their restrictive eating patterns. This often leads to anxiety, depression, and a distorted body image.

The risks of orthorexia include malnutrition. This is due to the individual’s reduced food intake, deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, and weight loss.

Long-term effects may also include the emergence of other eating disorders. Such as anorexia or bulimia. Anxiety, depression, and an inability to socialize due to one’s fear of eating foods outside may also be present.

Reach Out to a Mental Health Professional

Orthorexia is a growing health issue with serious physical and emotional consequences. It is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of what is orthorexia to get early help and prevent it from developing further.

Eating disorder treatment can help in tackling the physical and emotional effects of orthorexia. If you or anyone who is known to you is experiencing an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating, reach out to a mental health professional immediately.