Orthorexia;Causes,Symptoms,Diagnosis And Treatment

Orthorexia nervosa is a disease that can be classified between an eating and nutrition disorder and an obsessive-compulsive disorder.Eating healthy  foods is the first step to living well, but this lifestyle can become an obsession.we talk about orthorexia nervosa ,a disorder that affects about 450,000 people in the world.

Orthorexia causes

Orthorexia seems to be motivated by health, but there are underlying motivations, which may include:

  • Security
  • Compulsion for complete control
  • Desire to be thin
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Search for spirituality through food
  • Use of food to create an identity

Symptoms of orthorexia

  • Elimination of entire food groups in search of a “clean” or “perfect” diet
  • Severe anxiety about how food is prepared
  • Avoid social events that involve food for fear of not being able to comply with the diet
  • Critically think of others who do not follow strict diets
  • Spend extreme amounts of time and money in meal planning and food options
  • Feelings of guilt or shame when they are unable to comply with the diet they have set
  • Feeling satisfied or virtuous of eating “healthy” while losing interest in other social and family activities.
  • You feel in control when you stick to the “right” diet.

Diagnosis of orthorexia

The diagnosis of orthorexia would involve a series of questions about the signs and symptoms such as

  • ” Do you spend a lot of time thinking about what to eat? 
  • Do you spend a lot of money on healthy foods or supplements? “,”
  •  Do you feel obsessed with what you eat?
  • Do you feel superior about other people who do not eat like you?


The treatment of people suffering from orthorexia should combine psychiatric therapy   with  pharmacological therapy.The specialist usually advises to the patient, he must come back to his mind in ” intuition “: he must eat when he is hungry and stop doing it when he feels satisfied.


To avoid getting obsessed with healthy eating, specialists recommend following the following tips:

  • Go for a healthy meal that includes the amount and variety of foods that the body needs to function properly.
  • It is important that the education of children should be addressed through advice such as tolerance of oneself or others. There must be awareness about  stereotyped models of beauty and behavior.
by Abdullah Sam
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