Signs and Symptoms
Orthorexia is an 'informal' type of disordered eating, which shares many features with anorexia nervosa, such as emaciation, perfectionism, asceticism and a great desire for purity. However, the motivation is different in orthorexia, since, in this case, individuals do not openly strive for an abnormally thin body, but are preoccupied with eating healthy, biologically pure and high quality food to such an extent that thinking and planning about food becomes constant, to the point that their whole life revolves around and derives meaning from how well and strictly they follow their chosen diet plan. Just like in anorexia, foods get labelled as 'good' and 'bad', and 'bad' foods become completely eliminated from one's diet, with sufferers feeling good about themselves when they obey the dietary rules, but guilty and desperate when they deviate even slightly from them. Social isolation is another consequence, resulting from the progressive difficulty of orthorexics to find the 'right' food to eat out of home.
Orthorexia vs healthy eating
It is important, though not always easy, to distinguish between healthy eating and orthorexia. It is true that most of the food we buy nowadays is not of the best quality and it is always recommended and preferable to eat organic and wholesome food; however, the desire and practice of healthy eating becomes problematic when it acquires an obsessive nature and interferes with one's ability to enjoy all aspects of a balanced life.
Recovery is possible - Steps to healing
Nevertheless, recovery is possible, as the body's self-healing powers are extraordinary, when the appropriate kind of multidisciplinary, multidimensional support is provided. The treatment of orthorexia involves identifying the different meanings food holds and the several roles it plays in the person's life, while exploring the fear and anxiety related to 'losing control' and not being 'perfect' and exploring more effective and wholesome ways to deal with them. At the same time, we are looking at and working on the fundamental causes and underlying issues in the client's life as a whole, so as for substantial healing to take place on all levels.
If you think that you are suffering from Orthorexia and are ready to take the first step towards recovery, health and well-being, or if you feel ambivalent about reaching out, or would like to discuss any concerns regarding your challenges and how I could be of help, please call me on 07450256556 or contact me through the form below.