what exactly is orthorexia????

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what exactly is orthorexia????

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It’s the pathological obsession with eating “correctly”. Consider someone who is afraid of “chemicals” in their food – they won’t eat anything they can’t pronounce. They think GMOs will give them super cancer. They heard that too much sodium is bad for their heart.

Now, crank that person up to 11. They don’t just try to avoid processed food, they *will not* eat it, at all. They scour the internet for wellness blogs about what not to eat. They have anxiety attacks or even full blown panic attacks because they tried eating an apple but then a blog they read tells them that that brand uses some pesticide that another blog said causes cancer maybe. They have stopped eating out at restaurants because they can’t be sure about the ingredients there.

And it’s not just about being picky. They aren’t just picky, they are *pathological*. Their inability to eat the “wrong” thing is negatively impacting their life but they are unable to stop. It’s like someone with ADHD – they *know* they need to pay attention but they still can’t. Or someone with OCD – they *know* intellectually that leaving their front door unlocked one time won’t kill them, but they will have a mental break down if it happens. Someone with orthorexia will literally starve themselves to death before eating something that they perceive to be the wrong kind of food for whatever reason – pesticides, GMO, preservatives, whatever. Someone with orthorexia may be suffering from some kind of vitamin deficiency because they are avoiding some kind of foods that they’ve been told are bad.

Many of their symptoms are probably psychosomatic. They believe they are “sensitive” to GMOs because they have a stomach ache whenever they eat them. In reality, their stomach ache is caused by severe anxiety over eating a GMO because they *believe* that GMOs are bad. Their symptoms fuel their orthorexia, though – every time they eat a “bad” food they feel sick, confirming that the food is bad.

Orthorexia is not currently recognized by the American Psychiatric Association so it isn’t a “real” disorder – rather, it’s not something a psychiatrist will diagnose you with, probably.