As more and more people not only become interested in healthy eating, switching their diets from animal protein to vegetarian, vegan, or even raw foods, there is a minority of people who not only get carried away with their new diet plan, but in fact fall into the grip of the world's strangest eating disorder – Orthorexia Nervosa.
What is Orthorexia Nervosa?
You've seen those people (and maybe you're even one of them) who searches and seeks for the food consumption plan that is right right and will ensure health, happiness, and longevity. Today it is raw foods and a few years before it was macrobiotics, whatever way of eating there is the Orthorexic will chase after it in hopes of finding some inner sense of salvation.
So what can be so bad about a little consciousness when it comes to selecting foods? Its true and it is proven that organic food and foods with less preservatives and hormones (ie less meet and more vegetables) are healthy, but someone who is suffering from Orthorexia obsesses over their food choices to the point that this obsession isolates them socially. Orthorexics want everyone to know about their new found diet and "thought after conversions" are par for the course. In a sense Orthorexia is sort of like making obsession with healthy eating into a religion. There is a guilty feeling when food choices are not kept meticulously and a hope of "redemption" when it comes to health.
Of course, not every health conscious person who seeks to better their diet plan is suffering from Orthorexia Nervosa, but it is clear that every Orthorexic person expresses the disorder through the guise of "needing to eat healthfully."
What are the Signs of Orthorexia?
Orthorexia Nervosa is a very hard eating disorder to identify, partly because the person suffering from it tends to manage as far as health is concerned. Most Orthorexics recede from social interactions, partly because they become so obsessed with "healthy eating" that all of their conversations focus on food; absolutely distancing themselves from friends and family.
Also, those who have Orthorexia Nervosa tend to feel guilty when they break their "diet" even in the slightest. They often times set up very strict "religious" rules for themselves, which they struggle to keep, forcing to become even more obsessed with their food choices. Besides their feelings of guilt they also tend to look down on others who do not share their vision of the "perfect way to eat."
Treatment of Orthorexia
Orthorexia Nervosa, like many other eating disorders is an out of many different intertwining circumstances. These include psychological, physiological, physical, genetic, and social. Treatment often depends on what level level someone who has Orthorexia is at. Most times treatment consists of both therapy and food choice changes. The Orthorexic needs to retrain their brain and body how to eat. The most important thing to remember when dealing someone who fits into the description of Orthorexia Nervosa, is that more often than not they will feel that they are eating just fine and that their lives are just fine, be prepared to acknowledge that they might just be an over zealous "health nut" instead of someone suffering from Orthorexia. Never the less it is important to be aware and informed of various changes in the concerned party's food choices.