What is orthorexia?
Orthorexia is a pattern of disordered eating behavior involving extreme fixation over the quality and purity of food. Individuals with orthorexia only consume food they perceive to be as “healthy” or “pure.” Such rigid food ideals can often lead to an unbalanced diet, malnutrition, weight loss and severe emotional distress.
How is orthorexia different from other eating disorders?
Unlike other eating disorders stemming from poor body image or the need to lose weight, orthorexia is primarily driven by the obsession to “eat clean” and “be healthy.” It’s important to note that dieting or focusing on “healthy” eating does not mean an individual has orthorexia. The major differentiator is that those with orthorexia have difficulty moving away from their rigid behavior – and, when they do, emotional turmoil results, including guilt, shame and fear of sickness or disease.
What are the treatment prognostics for orthorexia?
While more research is needed, the studies conducted so far suggest that people with orthorexia benefit from a similar treatment approach as other eating disorders (Niedzielski & Kaźmierczak-Wojtaś, 2021), Current best practices for orthorexia treatment involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoeducation and medication (Koven et al., 2015).
Athletes are two to three times more likely than the average person to develop an eating disorder. Those impacted by disordered eating or nutritional deficiencies will become less competitive in sport, more prone to injury and risk permanent physical damage that, in some cases, can be life threatening. Walden’s GOALS Intensive Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment Program is designed specifically for adult athletes (18+) who need guidance on how best to optimize the balance between nutritional needs and performance goals.
Learn more about our specialty virtual program for athletesWalden’s GOALS IOP
You are not alone. We’re here to help.
One of the best ways to improve treatment outcomes is to start treatment early. If you are concerned that you, or a loved one, may have an eating disorder, we are here to help.
Please reach out or email Admissions@MonteNidoAffiliates.com to connect with a member of our Admissions Team. Begin your journey to recovery today.
Koven NS, Abry AW. The clinical basis of orthorexia nervosa: emerging perspectives. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015 Feb 18;11:385-94. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S61665. PMID: 25733839; PMCID: PMC4340368.
Niedzielski A, Kaźmierczak-Wojtaś N. Prevalence of Orthorexia Nervosa and Its Diagnostic Tools-A Literature Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 May 20;18(10):5488. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18105488. PMID: 34065506; PMCID: PMC8160773.
Segura-Garcia C, Ramacciotti C, Rania M, Aloi M, Caroleo M, Bruni A, Gazzarrini D, Sinopoli F, De Fazio P. The prevalence of orthorexia nervosa among eating disorder patients after treatment. Eat Weight Disord. 2015 Jun;20(2):161-6. doi: 10.1007/s40519-014-0171-y. Epub 2014 Dec 28. PMID: 25543324.