The Consequences of Orthorexia

Some possible consequences of an unhealthy preoccupation with healthy food include:

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Social isolation
  • An elevated risk of experiencing other eating disorders, such as anorexia (because of the rigidity and preoccupation with food)
  • Diet failures, eating foods that are not ‘correct’ result in feelings of guilt and shame

Orthorexia Treatments

As a relatively newly identified and still not yet formally recognized disorder, there is not yet and research data on effective treatments for the condition.

However, experts suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is likely to be an effective treatment for the disorder, as it is for many other types of obsessive compulsive conditions.

Using CBT, Orthorexia sufferers can:

  • Explore notions of the need for perfection and the true costs of a rigidly expressed dietary plan
  • Come to recognize the true costs of the condition. For example, come to accept that the price tag or this form of disorder eating, social isolation for example, is far greater than the cost of occasionally eating foods that are not 100% pure.
  • Through exposure therapy, gradually increase a comfort level with eating foods that were not previously "allowed"1
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Page last updated May 18, 2011

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