Are you food obsessed?
Do you spend most of your day thinking about eating healthy and the right portions of meals which even take a toll on your emotions? Such people, unknowingly, are suffering from a nervous disorder named Orthorexia.
A relatively lesser known term and disorder in India, Orthoerxia has been very much a part of the Indian medical history since years and is similar to anorexia but with some distinctive differences. Term coined by an American doctor Steven Bratman, ‘ortho’ means straight and ‘rexia’ denotes appetite. With healthy eating and keeping fit becoming extremely important, a lot of people tend to become obsessive about eating ‘just’ healthy and avoiding the carbohydrates and even the slightest of fats. It is all in their brains which they must have heard, read or taken advice from somewhere and frame rigid rules about their diet.
Is healthy eating wrong?
Following a healthy diet is not wrong but not eating all the required nutrients may lead to many permanent damages in the body. Eating a certain diet to look thin is the a new fad to meet the requirement of looking presentable as per people but totally cutting down some nutrients is certainly not the right way to lose weight. It is certainly an alarm when most of your time is gone behind thinking what to eat, you feel out of place in the crowd and the most important is the indifferent behavior towards those who point a finger towards your eating habits.
Symptoms of anorexia
The following are the symptoms that a person suffering from Orthorexia displays:
- Avoiding food items with colours, preservatives and fatty acids.
- Display signs of mood swings when others comment on their strict eating habits.
- Think of eating healthy meals almost all the day and have this obsessive habit of sticking to a particular meal type every day.
- A strong sense of accomplishment when following the ‘right’ diet.
- Display signs of weakness due to deficiency of other nutrients in the body.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
This disorder is not very well received so far with people tend to categorizing it as a psychological problem, leaving the awareness level to be poor.
An isolation disease
A person suffering from Orthorexia cuts himself/herself from the crowd who don’t respect their thinking. Eating food that they think is not healthy creates a sign of anxiety in the patient, which may be harmful at extreme stages. They may not even enjoy their meals but just that sense of accomplishment after eating the right food feeds their false pride.
More of a nervous disorder, a patient has to be cured mentally with the intervention of nutritionist to get back to a normal diet. It is very important for the patient to believe about the food that they eat. Only giving an orthorexic a diet is no cure, but one has to cure them mentally so clear their preset rigid rules for eating. The patient has to go in for series of counseling sessions to clear off their misunderstanding about healthy food and healthy eating habits.
The effects of this nervous disorder can be dangerous with problems like problems in relationship, hampers the routine activities and interests and even leads to serious malnutrition in the body. Orthorexia is a serious eating disorder, particularly if it is accompanied by addictive disorders or co-occurring psychiatric, & weight loss or dietary imbalance.
Road towards cure
People affected with Orthorexia tend to be socially isolated and lonely. Thus friends and family members can help by understanding the underlying emotional issues and help them realize that it is not just pure food which makes them a better person.”
People undergoing psychological treatment are usually exposed to the feared stimuli i.e. the obsession about quality and purity of food so that they are able to get back to a normal lifestyle. This kind of psychological treatment is called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy through which they can overcome the fear.