The word orthorexia translates from Greek to mean “correct diet.” People with orthorexia are hyper-fixated on eating a particular diet. The diet eaten by people affected by this condition can vary depending on how the person views food. There are orthorexics that will only at the organic plant-based foods, and there are orthorexics that will only eat food that is white in color.

What is Orthorexia?

If you’re wondering what is orthorexia, in short, orthorexia is the preoccupation with what a person eats. Most commonly, people are preoccupied with eating wholesome and healthy foods. These people tend to experience intense fear around food and see food intake as something that needs to be strictly controlled. This can be started by hopping onto a diet fad and never being able to pull away from it.

Orthorexia can cause people to not dine out with friends or lose weight because “good” food is not available. People can display some symptoms of this without having a full blow problem that affects their lives. Orthorexia inhibits the ability of people to live their life fully because they are so preoccupied with the food that they put into their bodies.

How to Tell if Someone You Know is Suffering From Othorexia

As with other types of disordered eating, orthorexia has some hallmark behaviors that may be noticeable to loved ones. They are:

  • Loss of interest in anything other than virtuous eating
  • Avoiding or not eating at social events that offer food
  • Being critical of people that do not follow strict diets
  • Dis-including entire food groups due to uncleanliness
  • Shameful or guilt filled feelings when consuming foods, not on the diet plan
  • Anxiety around the preparation of food, and spending an extreme amount of money and time food shopping and planning

If you notice that your loved one displays some of these traits, talk to them and find out how intense their feelings are around the food that they put into their body. Talk to them about how they would feel going to counseling or eating disorder treatment.

Finding Treatment for Orthorexia

Orthorexia is not as common as other types of disordered eating such as anorexia or bulimia. This is probably so due to the fact that these people are still eating for the most part. Living in a prison of limited food choices is not the way most of us would choose to live. If left untreated orthorexia can turn into something much more severe such as:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • And Much More

When you are looking for treatment look for professionals that have specific experience with orthorexia because the condition can come from different places in the thinking mind than other types of disordered eating. Orthorexia can be related to obsessive-compulsive disorders, or it can be related to other disordered eating underlying issues such as the desire to control one’s life.

If you are looking for specialized treatment for orthorexia, Steps to Recovery offers a range of disordered eating treatments in Pennsylvania. Give us a call today at 267.719.8528 to find out about our dual diagnosis and eating disorder treatments today!