Shwetha Bhatia

Orthorexia Nervosa : When Eating Healthy Gets Dangerous

March, 2018
The Master Responds

Today’s ever-growing focus on ‘fitness and clean living’ may lead to an increase in cases of a condition known as orthorexia nervosa.

Orthorexia has been defined as a ‘pathogenic obsession with proper nutrition’ including a strict avoidance of food believed to be unhealthy or impure, ultimately leading to serious nutritional and medical consequences. Unlike anorexia nervosa, body image is usually not a focus for patients with this condition.

Simply put, the fixation is on food quality/purity as opposed to food quantity.

Often, misdiagnosed as anorexia, patients with the former often flaunt their eating habits instead of hiding them, especially on social media. This condition also overlaps with some psychological disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder.

Psychotic symptoms may include paranoia of food being contaminated, obsessing about consequences of eating forbidden foods, social isolation, etc.

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