Serving the community since 1999

Specializing in OCD and related conditions

Three Locations in Southern California:

Los Angeles • Woodland Hills
Newport Beach

Orthorexia: Where Eating Disorders Meet OCD

    

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 1997, many health professionals have observed the often debilitating results of this condition.

Symptoms of Orthorexia

Like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Orthorexia can be conceptualized as a constellation of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. The most prominent obsession seen in Orthorexia is an excessive concern about the healthfulness of food. Those with Orthorexia often spend many hours of the day planning and obsessing about what foods they have eaten or will eat, the nutritional content of that food, and how that food has been grown, processed, and/or prepared. Individuals with Orthorexia may obsess about any number of nutritional aspects of food, including, but not limited to the following:

• Calories
• Sugar (especially “refined” sugar)
• High fructose corn syrup
• Fat
• Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat (trans fats)
• Protein
• Carbohydrates
• Glycemic index
• Salt / sodium
• Fiber
• Gluten
• Dairy products
• Fatty acids
• Vitamin and mineral content of the food
• Whether or not a food is “whole” or “organic”
• Whether or not a food is sufficiently vegan, vegetarian, or macrobiotic
• Whether or not a food is genetically modified

The most obvious behavioral symptom of Orthorexia is the compulsive avoidance of foods that the sufferer deems unhealthy or impure.  Individuals with Orthorexia may at first simply eliminate a few specific foods from their diet, but over time, their diets often become more and more restrictive. Eventually, they may eat only a select small number of foods that have been prepared in a manner that they have decided is “correct” or “pure”. At the same time, they may also purchase many expensive, “natural” or “organic” health food products and supplements that they perceive as more pure and/or healthy than traditional foods.

In addition to food avoidance, individuals with Orthorexia will often spend excessive amounts of time researching food issues related to the above concerns. This research may include many hours of internet searching, buying and reading an excessive amount of food, health, and nutrition related books, and near-constant examination of food labels when shopping for groceries at the market.

For individuals with Orthorexia, the obsessive concern with what goes into their bodies may also extend to other, non-food related health issues. Often, they have a disproportionate level of fear related to the possibility of exposure to what they perceive as pathogens in everyday products and in the environment. This may result in compulsive avoidance of certain soaps, shampoos, perfumes, and deodorants, as well as x-rays, vaccinations, or even mercury in dental fillings. They may broadly reject much of western medical science in favor of homeopathy, osteopathy, and other “complementary” and “alternative medicine” approaches.

It is also common for those with Orthorexia to spend much of their social time discussing food, and attempting to convince others of the “correct” way to eat. This may result in conflict with families and friends who do not agree with their views, and who take offense when the person with Orthorexia repeatedly criticizes their food choices. Likewise, those with Orthorexia may take offense when friends and family express their concerns about the health and dietary choices of the sufferer.

On a more internal, psychological level, those suffering with Orthorexia often experience significant guilt and shame when they do not maintain their purist dietary rules. They are usually extremely strict with themselves about their diet and their overall health, and are often overly judgmental towards themselves and their ability to control what they eat. Frequently, much of their self-esteem and sense of identity is rooted in their diet and in their success in satisfying their high levels of self-discipline.

Diagnosis and Relationship to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

While some see Orthorexia as an eating disorder, many mental health experts agree that it is best conceptualized as a hybrid of an eating disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Like OCD, Orthorexia is defined by the individual’s obsessive thoughts (in this case, thoughts about certain foods being Mindfulness Workbook for OCDdangerously unhealthy), and the compulsive behaviors done in an effort to minimize the anxiety caused by those obsessive thoughts (in this case, food avoidance, as well as the other behaviors noted above).

The food avoidance seen in Orthorexia also has an obvious relationship to Anorexia. In fact, many with Orthorexia are eventually diagnosed with Anorexia as a result of weight loss related to their food avoidance. And some mental health clinicians see Orthorexia as a behavioral symptom of Anorexia in which the individual uses the issue of “healthfulness” as a justification for not eating.

It is also worth noting that some with Orthorexia will resort to purging behaviors similar to those seen in Bulimia in an effort to rid their bodies of impurities that they believe they may have ingested. Purging behaviors may include vomiting, use of laxatives and emetics, and use of colon cleansers to rid themselves of alleged toxins. Likewise, similar to those with Anorexia and Bulimia, individuals with Orthorexia often perform other compensatory behaviors such as compulsive exercising in an effort to make their bodies as perfect and pure as possible.

Symptoms of Orthorexia also overlap with those of other Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. The excessive focus on “healthfulness” leads many to develop a distorted over-concern with their actual health, not unlike those with Hypochondria (also known as Health Anxiety). Likewise, many with Orthorexia have a distorted body image, much like those with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

Because of the extreme restrictions commonly seen in this condition, it is often very difficult for those with Orthorexia to eat socially, or even be in social places at all. As result of trying to avoid being confronted about their food obsession, many with Orthorexia develop a pattern of social avoidance similar to that of Social Anxiety. The result is often a reduction in social interaction, and in some cases, a complete severing of friendships and relationships in order to maintain and protect their diet.

Finally, it is worth noting the overlap between phobias and Orthorexia. The two primary distinguishing features of phobias are the sufferer’s irrational fear of a specific object or event, and their subsequent efforts to avoid exposure to that object or event. Some conceptualize Orthorexia as essentially being a food phobia, in which the individual is terrified of being exposed to foods that they irrationally see as imminent threats to their well-being.

Click here to read part two of this series, which examines the treatment of Orthorexia utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, is a licensed psychotherapist at the the OCD Center of Los Angeles, a private, outpatient clinic specializing in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related conditions, including Orthorexia.  In addition to individual therapy, the center offers four weekly therapy groups, as well as online therapy, telephone therapy, and intensive outpatient treatment.  To contact the OCD Center of Los Angeles, click here.

12 Comments

  • Hello, I found this article very interesting but at the same time it raised some questions for me.
    I have OCD and I am also try to eat very healthy and avoid many of the items referenced on your list. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why in this case trying to eliminate obviously unhealthy and harmful ingredients from one’s diet would be considered a disorder. After all, isn’t this what the media and the nutrition professionals teach us to do?
    Please explain.

    Reply
  • Hello there Emily,

    Thank you for your question. I completely understand your concerns.

    The term Orthorexia does not automatically apply to anyone who is trying to eat a healthy diet or who is eliminating unhealthy foods from their lifestyle. The term is used to describe someone who is restricting their diet so much that they begin to become malnourished and their health is being threatened. This is usually due to severe restriction of specific types of foods. Commonly, people who suffer Orthorexia do not eat from all of the food groups and often don’t get enough calories. Basically, they eat “healthy” to a point that is “unhealthy”, both physically and psychologically.

    Also, Orthorexia comes with time-consuming obsessions about food. Sometimes, the whole day is taken up obsessing over what foods will be eaten? And when? And how much?

    I hope that helps differentiate between those who have Orthorexia and those who are just trying to have a healthy dietary lifestyle. I too try to prepare healthy nutritious meals for my family and my self, but like all things, this must be done in moderation. If eating becomes too extreme, there are often physical, emotional, and/or social consequences.

    Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Warmly,
    Kimberley

    Reply
  • I hardly eat at all, this describes me perfectly. I have almost stopped eating because I can’t find many foods that meet my standards. I know it is crazy but I can’t stop

    Reply
  • Hello there Jill,

    You are not alone. A lot of people feel there is no way to stop. Know that you are not alone and that you can get better.

    Seeking professional treatment for Orthorexia will allow you to learn tools to help manage the discomfort of stepping out of the rules of this condition, and can provide you with the support you need to do this. I wish you all the luck. Don’t give up!

    Warmly,
    Kimberley

    Reply
  • Hi, something I have encountered before as a pure o ocd sufferer that I am wondering if it’s similar to orthorexia – the idea however is not about food, but water. My brother has anxiety but did this as well and I have OCD. Obsessing over the taste of water and cleanliness of water, for a few months we both stopped drinking our water suddenly and switched to bottled water (which if your familiar with studies may not be cleaner anyway!) but something about the water became an anxiety for us both. However with me I think it may be related in some way to how ortharexia works or at least my OCD. We both no longer have this issue, but I have since met others with it (to my honest surprise). Often those I meet now do have a comorbid eating disorder, but not always. It doesn’t pear to be super common, yet it can obviously be very detrimental to ones health- especially if you are dehydrated chronically. In similar fashion I’ve also met people who will not drink water at all- a friend who would only drink soda for about four years. I was wondering if you had any thoughts or information on this (not that I’m asking for a diagnoses, just info, and what this is related to. Just anxiety?) regards, Risa.

    Reply
  • Hello Risa,

    Any thought can become an obsession when we give it a lot of value. And, each obsession becomes problematic when we respond to it as if it was a fact, even though we don’t want to or know that it doesn’t make sense. Or, in many cases, we respond because we couldn’t handle the discomfort if we didn’t respond.

    Orthorexia is an obsession surrounding the healthfulness and purity of ones diet. While an obsession about the purity of water alone might not qualify one for a diagnosis for Orthorexia, the treatment of this obsession (and the compulsion to avoid tap water) would be treated using exactly the same tools. It would be important to gradually expose one to their fear and learn that they can tolerate the discomfort.

    Lastly, there are many overlaps between OCD and Orthorexia. The most important thing would be that each person be assessed thoroughly before beginning treatment.

    Warmly,
    Kimberley

    Reply
  • I’m in my twenties and I used to weigh 300lbs, which depression and a strange course of events lead me to lose around 100lbs of that weight in a very short amount of time. I lost this weight by no longer eating sugars, bye-bye soft drinks, and by starting to regularly drink chilled water. I thought I was being healthy but your words above really do describe me quite well. to an extent. I’ve maintained a 200lbs weight for the past 2 years now and was arguably feeling pretty good about my appearance until something happened that negatively altered the way I look. Now I feel like theres no point in eating “right” cos my appearance is all screwed up anyways. Now I have all these incredible urges to just raid the pantry and eat everything in there and I can’t shake the thoughts, they’re there 24/7, and my usually impenetrable will-power is finding it painfully difficult to fight these feelings off. I’m afraid that if I let myself eat whatever like I did before that I’m gonna end up overweight again. I’ve had Obsessive Compulsive tendencies all my life and I guess I’m just looking for some advice or opinions on my current situation. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi there Ben,

      While I applaud you for your healthy eating, it is important to note that some take healthy eating to an extreme.

      I strongly encourage you to observe your thoughts and recognize that just because you have thoughts that foods must be “right”, doesn’t mean they must, in fact, be right. Similarly, just because you have thoughts that you will over-eat and gain weight, doesn’t make them facts either.

      Taking this observational view can help you see that these are just fears, not realities. I also encourage you to find a therapist who specializes in treating Orthorexia to help you with appropriate exposures to help with these fears.

      Wishing you all the luck.

      Kimberley

      Reply
  • Hi, thanks for the great article. I see it’s a few years old so you may not be taking replies now. I had a visit from worried friends who have drawn my attention to this and I realise it describes me well. I’m extremely low and unhappy and have been for some time – my healthy diet seemed to help give me some order but I realise I’ve taken this to extremes. I’m struggling to find balance and settle in life and have tried lots of therapies and supplements and visited my doc to a lot. The OCD and hyperchondria you describe seem to apply to me to! I’m not sure where to turn next but am considering life coaching and/or counselling – can’t decide whether it’s better to try and get to the root causes of this of just look forward. Any ideas please? Much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi S,

      Sorry for the delay in replying.

      While I cannot provide a diagnosis via a blog comment, I can say that the symptoms you describe sound very much like Orthorexia. This condition is very similar to OCD, and the best solution is to find a therapist with experience treating Orthorexia with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I am confident that a life coach or a traditional talk therapist would be clueless with helping you to manage Orthorexia. In fact I would be stunned if they had even heard of it.

      Reply
  • Hello. After reading this, I feel like my daughter may suffer from this. She is now 20 years old, has been vegetarian for 10 years, and severely restricts her diet. I never see her eat sugar. She buys sugar-free syrups for her coffee and tea, and low-carb, sugar-free ice cream, sugar-free soft drinks and sugar free jello snacks or fruit cups. She eats a lot of eggs, as a response to our request that she makes sure she eats enough protein, and she eats a lot of vegetables. These are the only things I see her eat. I recently brought back cupcakes from a visit to Washington DC from a famous bakery. She wouldn’t eat hers in front of me, but the next day I came home from work and half of it was still in the fridge. She claimed to have eaten the other half, but I don’t know if I honestly can believe she didn’t throw it away. She won’t eat carbs – buys low cal bread, no longer eats pasta (she grew up on Pastina, we are Italian.) Claims she “doesn’t like the texture.” She has developed amenorrhea twice. I am at my wits end. Her doctor (a slender woman herself) doesn’t seem to thin her ‘watching what she eats’ is a big deal. I don’t agree, do you?

    Reply
    • Hi Julia,

      I cannot provide a diagnosis via a third-party report on a blog. Also, the line between healthy eating and Orthorexia is not always easy to define. Generally speaking, they key distinction is whether the dietary choices are causing problems in the individuals’s life.

      There is nothing innately wrong about eating a vegetarian diet that is low on sugar and processed carbohydrates. However, the fact that your daughter has twice developed amenorrhea is a strong indicator that something is seriously wrong. Many women with Orthorexia experience the loss of their period, and this is a genuine cause for alarm, as it indicates that her body is responding to a lack of nutrition.

      Ideally, your daughter will be able to recognize that her extreme dietary choices are taking a negative toll on her. I encourage you to provide support and compassion, while at the same keeping an eye on her symptoms. If at any time she expresses concerns, take that as an opportunity to lead her towards help with a treatment provider who has experience treating Orthorexia.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments are limited to a maximum of 750 characters. Your email address will not be published.

You have to agree to the comment policy.

Recent Articles

  • Exposure and Response Prevention via TeletherapyExposure and Response Prevention: Is It Effective Via Telehealth?
    Chanel Taghdis, LMFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, discusses the efficacy of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD and related conditions when conducted via teletherapy. […]
    No Comments
  • Response Prevention for OCD and Anxiety-300Mindfulness-Based Response Prevention for OCD and Anxiety
    Chris Cincotta, LMFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, discusses how to implement an effective mindfulness-based response prevention approach for the treatment of OCD and anxiety, and how to prevent mindfulness from becoming just another compulsion. […]
    10 Comments
  • OCD Center of Los Angeles - 2021 Online OCD Conference2021 Online OCD Conference
    Kelley Franke, Lauren McMeikan Rosen, Elena Fasan, and Mary Sponaugle of the OCD Center of Los Angeles will be giving three presentations at the Online OCD Conference being held October 8-10, 2021. […]
    No Comments
  • Trichotillomania: My Journey to Treatment and RecoveryTrichotillomania: My Journey to Treatment and Recovery
    Trichotillomania is a condition in which sufferers repeatedly pull out their hair. Chanel Taghdis, MA, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses her personal experience with, and recovery from, Trichotillomania, and how she treats clients struggling with this condition. […]
    22 Comments
  • Skills for managing COVID-19 and OCDHow Learning to Live with COVID-19 Can Help Kids Manage OCD
    Parents can teach kids skills to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic that have the added benefit of helping them cope more effectively with OCD. […]
    No Comments
  • When OCD Comes Between Us: Relationship OCD and RecoveryWhen OCD Comes Between Us: Relationship OCD and Recovery
    Laura Yocum, Lauren McMeikan, and Kelley Franke of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discuss Relationship OCD (ROCD) at the Online OCD Conference on August 2, 2020. […]
    No Comments
  • Online therapy for OCD and anxietyQ&A: Online Therapy for OCD, Anxiety and Related Conditions
    An interview with Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, about the use of online therapy for the treatment of OCD and related conditions. […]
    12 Comments
  • Making Peace with Uncertainty: Living in the Midst of a PandemicMaking Peace with Uncertainty: Living in the Midst of a Pandemic
    When it comes to uncertainty and anxiety related to COVID-19, most of us don’t want to feel it. But resistance just makes things worse. […]
    23 Comments
  • Debra Dalton Stein, MFT ~ OCD Center of Los AngelesMy Journey to Becoming an OCD Specialist
    Debra Dalton Stein, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles describes her journey as a psychotherapist from working primarily with eating disorders, to becoming an OCD specialist. […]
    10 Comments
  • OCD vs. GADOCD vs. GAD and How to Tell the Difference
    OCD is often misdiagnosed as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The OCD Center of L.A. reviews diagnostic & treatment differences between these conditions. […]
    20 Comments
  • Pure OPure O 101
    People with Pure Obsessional OCD ("Pure O") often feel overwhelmed by intrusive, distressing thoughts. Tom Corboy, MFT of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses Pure O and its many permutations. […]
    86 Comments
  • Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder, aka DermatillomaniaExcoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder, aka Dermatillomania
    Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder is an obsessive-compulsive spectrum condition in which sufferers repeatedly pick at their skin. Crystal Quater, MMFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses her personal experience with, and recovery from, Excoriation Disorder, and how she treats clients struggling with this condition. […]
    78 Comments
  • OCD is Fake News: The brain is a machine for jumping to conclusionsOCD is Fake News
    OCD obsessions are just fake news that your brain makes up. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Helping clients in California and around the world since 1999. […]
    65 Comments
  • HOCD - 30 Things You Need To KnowHOCD: 30 Things You Need To Know
    HOCD is a type of OCD in which the individual obsesses about their sexual orientation. Here are 30 things you should know about HOCD. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    508 Comments
  • Doubt, Denial, and OCDDoubt, Denial and OCD
    A discussion of "The Denial Obsession" in OCD, in which sufferers obsess that they don't really have OCD, but are merely "in denial". By Lauren McMeikan, MA, and Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    164 Comments
  • Dermatillomania: A Skin Picker's Guide to the DermatologistDermatillomania: A Skin Picker’s Guide to the Dermatologist
    How one woman with Dermatillomania finally opened up to her dermatologist about her longtime struggle with skin picking. […]
    44 Comments
  • Imaginal Exposure for OCD and Anxiety - OCD Center of Los AngelesImaginal Exposure for OCD and Anxiety
    Imaginal exposure for the treatment of OCD and anxiety is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    232 Comments
  • ROCD - Relationship OCDROCD: Relationship OCD and The Myth of “The One”
    ROCD (Relationship OCD) is an often misunderstood variant of OCD. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    694 Comments
  • Moral Scrupulosity in OCDMoral Scrupulosity in OCD: Cognitive Distortions
    A review of cognitive distortions seen in Moral Scrupulosity OCD, and a discussion of how to effectively challenge them. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    65 Comments
  • OCD in the Family
    One mom's story of her son's battle with OCD and its profound impact on their family, as told to Elizabeth Kassel, MSW, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    5 Comments
  • Scrupulosity in OCD: Cognitive Distortions
    A discussion of cognitive distortions in the religious Scrupulosity subtype of OCD. Part two of a multi-part series. […]
    40 Comments
  • OCD and Eating Disorders
    Diagnostic similarities and differences between OCD and eating disorders are discussed by Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    6 Comments
  • Harm OCD treatment with ERPHarm OCD Treatment With ERP
    Harm OCD treatment using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, Executive Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles . […]
    186 Comments
  • My Life with OCD
    The impact of OCD and related anxiety based disorders on the family is often overlooked. In this multi-part series, we present first-hand accounts of the ongoing impact of OCD, BDD, and Bipolar Disorder on one man and his family, as told to Elizabeth Kassel, MSW, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    18 Comments
  • Scrupulosity OCDScrupulosity: Where OCD Meets Religion, Faith, and Belief
    The Scrupulosity sub-type of OCD is discussed by Kevin Foss, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Part one of a four part series. […]
    222 Comments
  • Mindfulness for OCD and Anxiety
    Using mindfulness to enhance traditional CBT for OCD and anxiety is discussed by Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    21 Comments
  • Hoarding, Cluttering, and Compulsive Shopping: My Childhood Story
    One woman's story of her life as the child of multiple generations of hoarders. […]
    12 Comments
  • Thought Action FusionOCD and Thought-Action Fusion
    Thought-Action Fusion is a frequent problem for those with OCD. This issue is discussed by Laura Yocum, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    27 Comments
  • OCD, Anxiety, and Resistance
    Resistance and acceptance in OCD and related disorders is discussed by the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    21 Comments
  • Harm OCD Treatment: Cognitive Restructuring
    Harm OCD is often misunderstood, but it can be effectively treated using an integrated treatment plan that includes Cognitive Restructuring. Part three of our ongoing series that explores "Harm OCD" and its treatment . […]
    102 Comments
  • OCD & Anxiety: Five Common Roadblocks to Treatment
    Learn the five common mistakes that interfere with successful treatment of OCD and anxiety. By Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    26 Comments
  • Harm OCD Treatment: Mindfulness Based CBT
    Harm OCD is an often misunderstood condition that can be effectively treated using Mindfulness integrated with CBT. Part two of a multi-part series from the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    100 Comments
  • Skin Picking Disorder / Dermatillomania TreatmentDermatillomania / Skin Picking Disorder Treatment
    Treatment of Dermatillomania (Skin Picking Disorder) with CBT. Part two of a series from the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    164 Comments
  • Harm OCD: Symptoms and Treatment
    This is the first installment in a series of articles in which The OCD Center of Los Angeles demystifies both the symptoms and the treatment of Harm OCD. […]
    461 Comments
  • Orthorexia: Where Eating Disorders Meet OCD – Part 2
    Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness for the treatment of Orthorexia. Part two of a two-part series. […]
    18 Comments
  • Casey Anthony, Reasonable Doubt, and OCD
    Harm OCD and 'reasonable doubt' are discussed in relation to the Casey Anthony murder trial. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles.unbearable. […]
    10 Comments
  • ABCs of DermatillomaniaThe ABC’s of Dermatillomania / Skin Picking Disorder
    Symptoms and treatment of Skin Picking Disorder, also known as Dermatillomania. From The OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    208 Comments
  • HOCD / Gay OCD: Challenges to Treatment
    Common challenges seen in the treatment of HOCD / Gay OCD are discussed by the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Part four of a four-part series. […]
    439 Comments
  • Thought Suppression and OCD
    Thought suppression is a common feature of OCD, especially for those with Pure Obsessional OCD (sometimes called "Pure O"). […]
    23 Comments
  • HOCD / Gay OCD: Common Subtypes
    Common subtypes of HOCD / Gay OCD are discussed. Part three of a four part series. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    409 Comments
  • Social Anxiety / Social Phobia: Alone With Witnesses – Part 2
    Treatment of Social Anxiety is discussed, along with its relationship with other OC spectrum disorders. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    10 Comments
  • Social Anxiety / Social Phobia: Alone With Witnesses – Part 1
    Many people mistakenly think of Social Anxiety as nothing more than shyness. In this two-part series, the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses Social Anxiety and its treatment with CBT. […]
    9 Comments
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Research – Year in Review
    Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles reviews research studies published in 2010 related to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). […]
    4 Comments
  • Binge Eating Disorder / Compulsive Overeating and Its Treatment
    Binge Eating Disorder, also known as ‘”compulsive overeating”, can perhaps best be described as a condition in which one periodically consumes extremely large amounts of food. Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, discusses Binge Eating Disorder and its treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). […]
    7 Comments
  • Gay OCD / HOCD Treatment
    Treatment of Gay OCD / HOCD / Sexual Orientation OCD using CBT and Mindfulness is discussed by the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    196 Comments
  • Gay OCD / HOCD / Sexual Orientation OCD
    Symptoms & treatment of Gay OCD, also known as HOCD, or Sexual Orientation OCD. From The OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    744 Comments
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Teens
    Increasing numbers of teens are having elective cosmetic surgeries to address body image issues, without fully considering the physical and psychological risks involved. […]
    No Comments
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Body Image in the News
    A discussion of BDD and recent news reports about the condition. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Serving clients in California and internationally. […]
    1 Comment
  • Treatment of OCD and OC Spectrum Disorders in Children
    The OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of OCD and anxiety in children and adolescents. […]
    No Comments
  • Trichotillomania, Skin Picking Disorder, and the Resistor’s High
    The OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses treatment of Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder) and Dermatillomania (Skin Picking Disorder). […]
    8 Comments
  • Memory Hoarding in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    Many people with OCD engage in 'memory hoarding', a mental compulsion to over-attend to the details of an event, person, or object. Memory hoarding is done with the belief that the event, person, or object carries a special significance, and may be important to recall exactly as-is at a later date. […]
    263 Comments
  • OCD and the Law – Part 3
    An Australian pro boxer assaults a 70-year old man on a ferry boat and claims his OCD made him do it. Last of a three part series on OCD and the law. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD and the Law – Part 2
    A Kentucky man murdered his wife and then tried to claim that his OCD led him to kill her. Part 2 of a 3 part series. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    4 Comments
  • OCD and the Law – Part 1
    A Scottish man claims his massive child pornography collection is due to OCD. Part 1 of a 3 part series from the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    1 Comment
  • OCD Stockholm Syndrome
    Something akin to the Stockholm Syndrome occurs in some people who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ( OCD ). […]
    2 Comments
  • Athletes With Anxiety
    Mental health has long been shrouded in secrecy and shame. So when public figures like professional athletes actively seek help for anxiety, it is a sign of cultural progress. Here are some who have gone public with their struggles. […]
    1 Comment
  • Social Anxiety in Baseball Revisted
    This past week marked the arrival of the 2010 Major League baseball season. And as with last year, this season already has three developing stories of athletes dealing with Social Anxiety. […]
    No Comments
  • Treatment of OCD and Anxiety: A Brief History
    A look at how the treatment of OCD and related anxiety disorders has changed over time, especially the development of CBT and mindfulness for OCD. […]
    3 Comments
  • Tiger Woods, Sex Addiction, and OCD – Part 2
    Sex addiction is misconstrued by many to be a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This article reviews various factors relevant to determining what diagnosis might be more appropriate. Second of a two part series. […]
    4 Comments
  • Tiger Woods, Sex Addiction, and OCD
    Many people, including professional psychotherapists, incorrectly think of sex addiction as a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This article reviews the essential differences between these two conditions and, how therapeutic strategies used for the treatment of OCD are unlikely to be successful when treating sex addiction. First of a two part series. […]
    18 Comments
  • Latisse and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
    The drug Latisse is prescribed to lengthen eyelashes, but it has significant, under-reported side effects. This raises two questions - is Latisse safe, and does its marketing exploit women's body image concerns? […]
    2 Comments
  • Proposed DSM-5 Changes for OCD and Anxiety Disorders
    The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed significant revisions to its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition" (DSM-IV). Tom Corboy of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses changes planned for the new DSM-5, specifically those relevant to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related anxiety-based conditions. […]
    7 Comments
  • Reassurance Seeking in OCD and Anxiety
    Those with OCD and other anxiety based conditions often seek reassurance that their unwanted thoughts and feelings are not a threat. The OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses the problem of using reassurance seeking as an anxiety management strategy. […]
    92 Comments
  • Phobia Treatment in Unconventional Settings
    Traditionally, phobias have been treated in a therapist's office. But effective help for phobias can now be found in some very unexpected places. […]
    No Comments
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Cosmetic Surgery
    Many with Body Dysmorphic Disorder turn to cosmetic surgery in an attempt to alleviate their insecurities. Unfortunately, there are plenty of cosmetic surgeons who are more than willing to cash in on those with this serious psychiatric condition. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD & Anxiety: The Year 2009 in Review
    OCD and anxiety were in the news throughout 2009. Here are our votes for the top stories of the year about OCD and related anxiety based conditions. […]
    2 Comments
  • Bizarre, Disturbing, Weird, and Unwanted Thoughts in OCD
    Everybody has bizarre thoughts. But people with OCD respond differently to these thoughts. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    26 Comments
  • Emetophobia treatment at the OCD Center of Los Angeles with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)Emetophobia and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    Emetophobia is the fear of vomit and/or vomiting. Tom Corboy, MFT, Executive Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, discusses Emetophobia and its treatment. […]
    85 Comments
  • OCD and Mental Checking
    People with OCD often struggle with 'mental compulsions'. The OCD Center of Los Angeles explores how to manage this sometimes baffling problem. […]
    186 Comments
  • Cyberchondria: Health Anxiety in the 21st Century
    The twin explosions of television and the internet have spawned a sharp increase in Hypochondria, and spawned a new mental health issue - 'Cyberchondria'. […]
    8 Comments
  • Is Compulsive Overeating OCD?
    A discussion of compulsive overeating (aka binge eating) and how it differs from OCD. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Serving clients internationally. […]
    No Comments
  • Cy Young, Zack Greinke, and Social Anxiety
    Zack Greinke has overcome his Social Anxiety to become a superstar in major league baseball. […]
    No Comments
  • Exposure Therapy for OCD and AnxietyExposure Therapy for OCD and Anxiety
    Exposure therapy for OCD and other anxiety conditions is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    46 Comments
  • Social Anxiety Research
    Recent Social Anxiety research is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, executive director of the CD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD Awareness Week
         […]
    No Comments
  • CBT and Evidence Based Psychotherapy
    Unfortunately, many psychotherapists dismiss evidence-based treatments such as CBT, instead choosing to do what feels comfortable for them. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD, Mental Health, and the National Health Care Debate
    A look at the national health care debate, especially as it pertains to OCD and related anxiety based conditions. […]
    No Comments
  • Childhood OCD, Strep Infections, and PANDAS
    There is a growing body of research that indicates strep infections are related to rapid-onset OCD in children. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD and the Swine Flu – Part 2
    Panic about the Swine Flu continues, despite facts that suggest there is no cause for increased concern. […]
    No Comments
  • 2009 Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation Conference
    A review of the 2009 Obsessive Compulsive Foundation conference. […]
    No Comments
  • New Trichotillomania Research
    A look at recent research related to Trichotillomania. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    No Comments
  • Parenting a Child With OCD
    Parenting any child is a full-time job. But parenting a child with OCD can be particularly challenging. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    No Comments
  • Social Anxiety in Baseball
    A look at the recent rash of pro baseball players struggling with Social Anxiety Disorder. […]
    No Comments
  • Michael Jackson and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
    A look at the sad tale of Michael Jackson and his mental health issues. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD and the Swine Flu
    The past few months have seen an avalanche of news stories on the Swine Flu, despite its relatively low impact in the US. […]
    No Comments
  • Meet the OCD Center of Los Angeles Staff
    Meet the OCD Center of Los Angeles Staff […]
    No Comments
  • Welcome to the OCD Center of Los Angeles Blog
    Welcome to the OCD Center of Los Angeles Blog […]
    No Comments

    
OCD Center of Los Angeles

We're Here to Help

During the coronavirus emergency, our 12 staff therapists are available for telephone therapy or online, webcam-based therapy.