Orthorexia Essay

WORKS CITED “Health Food Junkie” 1997 author Dr Steven Bratman Obsessed with Health, Yoga Journal 2009 by Erika Alexia Tsoukanelis Orthorexia Nervosa: does this disorder deserve recognition? , Nutrition Today 2005 NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) 2006, Complied by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LD/N HARVEY 1 Can too much of a good thing be harmful? When it comes to eating healthy the answer could be yes. Orthorexia nervosa refers to a pathological fixation on eating healthy, severe weight loss is often a result.

People who suffer from this eating disorder are not concerned with being thin, but are obsessed with food quality, personal purity and avoiding unhealthy foods. The definition of healthy and unhealthy food varies widely depending on which dietary beliefs the patient has adopted. Ortho what? The word orthorexia from the Greek orthos, “correct or right”, and orexis for “appetite”. Literally “correct appetite”, was coined by holistic physician Steven Bratman. In an article published in the October 1997 issue of Yoga Journal titled “Health Food Junkie”, he wrote. Orthorexia begins, innocently enough, as a desire to overcome chronic illness or to improve general health. But because it requires considerable willpower to adopt a diet that differs radically from the food habits of childhood and the surrounding culture, few accomplish the change gracefully. Most resort to an iron self-discipline bolstered by a hefty dose of superiority over those who eat junk food. Over time, what to eat, how much, and the consequences of dietary indiscretion come to occupy a greater and greater proportion of the orthorexic’s day”. (Tsoukanelis, 2003)

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HARVEY 2 While not yet an officially recognized disorder in the psychiatric literature, the disorder is similar to other serious dietary diagnoses such as anorexia nervosa. According to Dr Bratman, obsession with healthy food can progress to the point where it crowds out other interests and even becomes physically dangerous and orthorexia takes on the dimensions of a true eating disorder, like anorexia or bulimia. But the so-called orthorexics are obsessed with food quality rather than with their body image, often avoiding caffeine, preservatives, salt, and sugar in their diet.

While it is perfectly normal for people to change what they eat to improve their health of lose weight, orthorexics take the concern too far until it becomes a pathological obsession. Sufferers avoid most foods, can experience severe weight loss, and often become socially isolated as they refuse to eat the same everyday meals as friends and family. (Orthorexia nervosa: does this disorder deserve recongnition, 2005) What is the treatment for orthorexia? Society pushes healthy eating and thinness, so it is easy for many to not realize how problematic this behavior can become.

Even more difficult is that the person doing the healthy eating can hide behind the thought that they are simply eating well(and that others do not). Further HARVEY 3 complicating treatment is the fact that motivation behind orthorexia is multi-faceted. First, the orthorexic must admit there is a problem, then identify what caused the obsession. They must also become more flexible with their eating. There will be deeper emotional issues, and working through them will make the transition to normal eating easier.

While orthorexia is not a condition your doctor will diagnose, recovery can require professional help. A practitioner skilled at treating those with eating disorders is the best choice. The recovery orthorexia will still eat healthy, but there will be a different understanding of what healthy eating is. They will realize that food will not make them a better person and that basing their self-esteem on the quality of their diet is irrational. Their identity will shift from “the person who eats health food” to a broader definition of who they are.

They will find that while food is important, it is one small aspect of life and, often, there are things that are more important! ( 2006 National Eating Disorders Association). I hope that my research on Orthorexia will educate everyone who reads it. I pray that people suffering from this disorder seek help. It is my belief that HARVEY 4 everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthy life, mind body and soul. After, all we only get one chance at this wonderful thing called LIFE! ORTHOREXIA