18 April 2024

Orthorexia – have you also suffered from this ailment?

Ortoreksja - leczenie

At the outset, there are a few important details about the daily eating pattern called diet. It should be tailored to the individual needs of a person, not forgetting that the products prepared in it should not cause our digestive system any problems.

Huge amounts of different types of information relating to a healthy lifestyle can sometimes make you feel dizzy. Using different diets without consulting a specialist can be dangerous to your health. Many specialists agree that targeting seemingly healthy and unprocessed products can lead to mental disorders. Orthorexia is a new problem that can affect any of us, and often we may not even be aware of it.

What is Orthorexia?

This question could be answered by several catchwords, one of which could be “Healthy Eating Obsession”. Some even describe it as a pathological approach to eating. A simple example may also be that such people pay morbid attention to the fact that the products they eat are sugar-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, or farmed without pesticides.

What is orthorexia besides that? It may also include avoiding foods that are prepared in a specific way, such as cooked, fried or grilled. These people believe that this way of preparing food is harmful to health. Looking at the disorder from a different angle, we can define it as focusing solely on your diet, thereby forgetting your usual daily activities such as walking or taking time to yourself.

orthorexia - what is it?

Orthorexia – what does the test look like?

Specialists dealing with the treatment of this type of problem in humans have developed a special test. It consists in answering the questions in the affirmative or negative.

  • It takes me three hours a day to think about healthy eating
  • He plans in advance the meal he will eat
  • What I eat is more important to me than the taste sensations
  • A better quality diet made my quality of life drop
  • I am more and more demanding for myself
  • I can sacrifice the pleasurable eating experience at the expense of consuming what I consider appropriate
  • My self-esteem increases when I eat what I consider healthy, and when others are not eating healthy, I condemn their behavior
  • He feels disgusted or guilty about eating anything other than his diet
  • My attachment to diet contributed to my isolation from my friends
  • As I eat according to my beliefs, I feel in complete control of my life

If you answered / answered yes to at least 4 questions, the orthorexia test was positive. This means that you need to seek help from a specialist.

Orthorexia and its symptoms

Thanks to the above-mentioned test, no one should have any doubts as to whether the problem of orthorexia affects them. If the test results are not sufficiently convincing, you can see an internist, psychiatrist or psychologist for an interview. Accompanying diseases may be dizziness, depression, anemia, and in the case of women – disturbances in the menstrual cycle.

Symptoms of orthorexia are actually hard to tell for yourself. Therefore, it is necessary to help the right people who specialize in the diagnosis of this ailment. The most important thing, however, is to be aware of the problem that has occurred, thanks to which the willingness to fight it will certainly be easier.

Orthorexia – treatment depends largely on you!

The most frequently used method is psychotherapy. It is often performed in two ways, focusing on mental and physical interaction. Thus, the combination of the work of a psychologist and a dietitian will bring the best results, but it is the patient who must show enormous determination in undergoing treatment. When there are problems with maintaining a diet in a patient, the help of a psychotherapist is indispensable.

Treatment of orthorexia nervosa usually takes a very long time, and this process is extremely difficult not only for the patient, but also for his family and surroundings. It is extremely crucial to support the person through the new diet. It is also important for the patient to notice that the consumption of new products is not associated with negative changes in his body.

Eating disorders include orthorexia

In general, eating disorders have been classified as disease entities characterized by mental disturbance of appetite. They include specific and non-specific disorders. It is widely known that failure to react and appropriate treatment can lead to serious health problems and, in some cases, even death.

To date, the most common eating disorders have been anorexia (anorexia nervosa) and bulimia nervosa (temporary bouts of excessive eating). Orthorexia is an eating disorder that was discovered and characterized quite recently, in 1997, but more on this in the paragraph below (orthorexia – a new eating disorder).

orthorexia - symptoms

Orthorexia – the effects may be more dangerous than you might think

Unfortunately, most people are not fully aware of what orthorexia can lead to. First, we should start with the huge deficiencies of many nutrients that are excluded by the sick person.

It is fatal to exclude the consumption of many types of products and replace them with others. The body becomes more and more weakened, as a result of which its proper functioning is strongly impaired. This effect is felt both physically and mentally. The disease effects of orthorexia include anemia and osteopenia, which over time develops into osteoporosis.

Malnutrition of the body takes its toll in everyday life, with often making simple activities difficult. Getting depressed is a very serious warning light.

Orthorexia on the forum about diseases of the 21st century

As quite rightly noted in many discussion topics, orthorexia is a new disease characteristic of the 21st century. Nowadays, a healthy lifestyle is more and more promoted. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that if it is approached responsibly. There is, however, the other side of the coin – the influence of social media and the growing cult of the body very often have a negative effect on the psyche, especially of young people.

According to the forum on orthorexia, many cases of this disease concern people who incorrectly interpret the patterns of a healthy lifestyle, trying to appeal to the communities of various websites. However, the most noticed behavior is constant and morbid thinking, even concern, about whether a given meal will be healthy.

Orthorexia (Orthoresia nervosa from Greek) is an avoidable problem

A healthy and correct diet does not necessarily mean that you may run the risk of becoming obsessed with this article. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that this type of problem has been diagnosed and occurs in a large number of people. Before this health complication is discovered, it can be avoided.

It is not difficult or complicated. When you feel like switching to any diet, it should be agreed with an appropriate specialist. Following the plan and the guidelines provided by a dietitian will certainly prevent you from developing orthoresia nervosa. It is equally important to be resistant to the advice of any people who seem to be only seemingly specialists.

Where does orthorexia in adolescents come from?

For the same reason as in adults. However, the age group to which young people belong is especially prone to this type of disorder. Its source in this case may be many factors, such as the desire to impress peers with your appearance (excessive care for your own body, which turns into obsession), or the need to live according to your own, not necessarily right, beliefs.

Orthorexia in adolescents can be especially dangerous due to the period of many changes in adolescence. These dynamic changes are characterized by an increased demand for vitamins and other microelements, which are an extremely important building block for the ongoing processes. Disorders related to an improper diet can result in serious complications in the future, from which it will be very difficult for a young person to heal.

A new diagnosis of orthorexia that is better to get acquainted with

Recently, a growing number of studies on orthorexia can be seen. The reason is to diagnose an increasing number of people struggling with this problem. Thanks to this, the knowledge about this ailment is growing. That is why it is so important that everyone who comes across information about this disease spreads knowledge about it as much as possible.

Thanks to this, it may be possible to protect someone from this disease. When it comes to the literature that can help in gathering more knowledge on the subject discussed in this article, one can certainly recommend the item “Orthorexia – a new diagnosis, by the authors: Janas-Kozik M., Zejda J., Stochel M., Brożek G ., Janas A., Jelonek I.


Orthorexia – a new eating disorder

Unfortunately, today there is a clear increase in mental problems in a large number of people. As mentioned above, young people are largely affected by this. The prognosis for the development of such obsessions or problems is not very optimistic. That is why it is so important to make the public aware of such threats.

Orthorexia as a new eating disorder was discovered by an American doctor who suffered from it himself. His name was Steven the Bartender. Already in his work on this ailment, he drew attention to its characteristic elements (described in the paragraph on symptoms), noting that the only exception group are vegetarians, but it is because of their beliefs and not obsessive attention. what you will eat.

How to deal with orthorexia?

In summary, the first step to finding out if this obsession applies to me is to ask yourself some of the questions listed above. Running away from the problem and saying that it does not apply to me is a very big mistake that can only aggravate the negative impact of orthorexia on the body.

If the first and most important step is taken, then we should ask ourselves: how to deal with orthorexia. In the whole process, apart from personal struggle, support from family and loved ones is very important. Behavioral-cognitive therapy carried out by medical specialists will certainly contribute to the improvement of health. In order to completely recover from the disease, it will be very important to use a new menu and work on yourself personally.

Orthorexia – menu

It is impossible to offer a universal menu if you become obsessed with it. It cannot be determined for a very simple reason. Each person dealing with orthorexia is characterized by a different weight, height or gender, and many other personal characteristics that will be determinants in building a menu.

The menu on the occasion of the occurrence of orthorexia should be prepared only by a person with appropriate qualifications, i.e. a dietitian, preferably in cooperation with a doctor. He will gradually introduce new products that have so far been excluded by the sick person. As you can easily guess, this may not be a pleasant process as it will require you to break through and convince yourself of the new products that have appeared in the new diet of the treated person.

Katarzyna Kroteniuk

Editor-in-chief of diet4u.org blog

View all posts by Katarzyna Kroteniuk →

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