Orthorexia – The Not-So-Healthy Obsession with “Healthy” Eating

Orthorexia = Eating Disorder + OCD

Individuals suffering with Orthorexia exhibit symptoms
similar to those of OCD and Eating Disorders.

Orthorexia Nervosa (also simply known as Orthorexia) is a relatively new term within the psychological and medical fields. Simply defined, Orthorexia is an eating disorder in which an individual has an excessive and ultimately unhealthy obsession about maintaining a diet that is totally “healthy” and “pure”. Because of their extremely restrictive eating, individuals with Orthorexia are often severely underweight, and frequently lack the proper nourishment to perform basic daily activities. Like most cases involving an eating disorder, the outcome of Orthorexia can be severe malnutrition and a significant reduction of one’s quality of life.

Orthorexia has not yet been accepted as a formal diagnosis by the psychiatric community, and has not been defined within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV). However, since first being described by Dr. Steven Bratman in 1996, many health professionals have observed the often debilitating results of this condition. Read More »

    

“If I knew then what I know now.”

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve found yourself saying the same thing at some point in your adult life.  Nowhere is this more relevant than from the perspective of someone looking back on a childhood with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or an Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorder.  When I meet a new client under 18, there is a powerful sense of traveling through time.  I think, “If only I had someone like me to go back and talk to me when I was someone like this.” How much time might I have saved being able to resist repetitive, unnecessary rituals?  How many more events, relationships, and simple moments of peace might I have been able to enjoy if only I had known what was really happening to me? Read More »

    

Last week, we discussed recent news reports about professional baseball players struggling with Social Anxiety.  This week, we broaden the topic to cover athletes in numerous sports with various anxiety disorders.  Second of a two-part series.

As we noted last week and in prior posts, the past few years have seen a significant increase in the number of professional baseball players going on the disabled list due to Social Anxiety.  This trend is remarkable for numerous reasons, the most noteworthy being that the issue of mental health in baseball is being openly discussed at all.  The overall issue of mental health has long been shrouded in secrecy and shame, leading many public figures to go to great lengths in order to ensure that their mental health issues remain private.  So when professional baseball players not only acknowledge their psychological issues, but actively seek help for them, this is a sign of cultural progress. Read More »

    

Anyone with a phobia knows what it is like to feel terrified of something that most people take for granted. Whether it be cynophobia (fear of dogs), hemophobia (fear of blood), or claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), the presentation is basically the same – when faced with the event, object or situation that is the focus of their fear, the individual with the phobia is often terrified to the point of experiencing a panic attack. Read More »

    

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety were in the news throughout 2009.  Some news was good, some bad, and some flat-out ugly.  Here are our votes for the top stories of the year related to OCD, Social Anxiety, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Trichotillomania, Phobias, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Read More »

    

The OCD Center of Los Angeles often receives calls from people seeking treatment for various phobias.  One of the most common phobias we treat is emetophobia – the intense fear of vomit and/or vomiting.

Most people who call us with emetophobia are initially quite surprised to learn that this problem has a name, and often equally surprised to learn that they are not the only person in the world to suffer with it. Read More »

  • HOCD: 30 Things You Need To Know

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    How one woman with Dermatillomania finally opened up to her dermatologist about her longtime struggle with skin picking.

  • Imaginal Exposure for OCD and Anxiety

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  • My Life with OCD

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  • Scrupulosity: Where OCD Meets Religion, Faith, and Belief

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    One woman’s story of her life as the child of multiple generations of hoarders.

  • OCD and Thought-Action Fusion

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  • OCD, Anxiety, and Resistance

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  • Harm OCD Treatment: Mindfulness Based CBT

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  • Dermatillomania / Skin Picking Disorder Treatment

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