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The problem of weight obsession among individuals

Other ingredients considered to be unhealthy Common behavior changes that may be signs of orthorexia may include: Obsessive concern over the relationship between food choices and health concerns such as asthma, digestive problems, low mood, anxiety or allergies Increasing avoidance of foods because of food allergies, without medical advice Noticeable increase in consumption of supplements, herbal remedies or probiotics Drastic reduction in opinions of acceptable food choices, such that the sufferer may eventually consume fewer than 10 foods Irrational concern over food preparation techniques, especially washing of food or sterilization of utensils Similar to a woman suffering with bulimia or anorexia, a woman with orthorexia may find that her food obsessions begin to hinder everyday activities.

Her strict rules and beliefs about food may lead her to become socially isolated, and result in anxiety or panic attacks in extreme cases.

  • One effect of this drive to eat only the right foods and perhaps only in the right ways is that it can give a person with orthorexia a sense of superiority to others;
  • Persons with this type of anorexia disorder will not only self-starve, but also take other actions to reduce their weight;
  • We have yet to fully untangle the relationship;
  • And eating fruits and vegetables every day is associated with lower risk of heart disease;
  • Eventually, disordered eating patterns will become more noticeable to others and potentially disrupt schooling, career, and relationships with family and friends;
  • I suspect one reason lies in the fanaticism that often seems to drive the public debate around weight.

Worsening emotional symptoms can indicate the disease may be progressing into a serious eating disorder: Orthorexia symptoms are serious, chronic, and go beyond a lifestyle choice. Obsession with healthy food can progress to the point where it crowds out other activities and interests, impairs relationships, and even becomes physically dangerous.

When this happens, orthorexia takes on the dimensions of a true eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.

  • She ate a hamburger and fries, and nothing terrible happened;
  • How are Anorexia Nervosa and Orthorexia Similar?

One effect of this drive to eat only the right foods and perhaps only in the right ways is that it can give a person with orthorexia a sense of superiority to others. This can put a strain on relationships with family and friends, as relationships become less important than holding to dietary patterns.

Planning to Go on a Diet? One Word of Advice: Don’t.

The person with orthorexia may lose enough weight to give her a body mass index consistent with someone with anorexia i. If the dietary restrictions are too severe, malnutrition can result. In rare cases, particularly in the case of women with unaddressed co-occurring disorders or another addiction, orthorexia may result in severe malnutrition and weight loss, which can cause cardiac complications or even death.

How are Anorexia Nervosa and Orthorexia Similar? Orthorexia is a term with varying levels of acceptance in the eating disorder treatment community. Some eating disorder specialists regard orthorexia as a discrete diagnosis like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Orthorexia Symptoms and Effects

Others, however, believe that patients with orthorexia symptoms are actually suffering from anorexia. Sufferers of orthorexia and anorexia may show similarities such as: Desire to achieve control over their lives through control of food intake Seeking self-esteem and spiritual fulfillment through controlling food intake Citing undiagnosed food allergies as rationale for avoiding food Co-occurring disorders such as OCD or obsessive compulsive personality disorder Elaborate rituals about food that may result in social isolation How are Orthorexia and Anorexia Nervosa Different?

Obsession with weight is one of the primary signs of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, but is not a symptom of orthorexia.

Anorexia Symptoms and Effects

While a person with anorexia restricts food intake in order to lose weight, a person with orthorexia wants to feel pure, healthy and natural. The focus is on quality of foods consumed rather than quantity.


The obsessive tendencies associated with orthorexia can indicate a co-occurring disorder that should be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist.

Orthorexia is a very serious eating disorder, particularly if it is accompanied by co-occurring psychiatric or addictive disorders, and significant weight loss or dietary imbalance. Like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders, orthorexia is a medical disease that can result in irreversible health complications, including death.