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Have you heard of orthorexia? A little less known eating disorder, but also dangerous to health?
WHAT IS ORTHOREXIA?
Orthorexia is much more than a healthy diet, as it goes beyond all limits and shows obsession and destroys all areas of an individual's life, and in 1997 it was defined by Dr. Bratman.
Often people due to various problems (eg low body self-esteem, health problems) or even prevention of certain diseases and illnesses, think about changing their eating habits and start eating healthier. At the beginning, they remove only certain types of food from the diet (eg more fatty, salty or sweet foods), and later whole food groups, even when there are no real health or medical reasons for this. Healthy food and eating habits gradually gain a central place in an individual’s life. Healthy food begins to dominate other values as a value. The evaluation of oneself and others takes place through the prism of healthy food.
An individual with orthorexia avoids the same things as someone who lives a healthy life: sugar, artificial supplements, very salty foods, genetically modified foods… Problems occur when food excretion becomes an obsession. A person rejects more and more foods and food groups and there are only a few selected things. It is not so much burdened with counting calories as with the quality of the food consumed.
Orthorexia mainly affects people with certain personality traits. People who strive for order and perfection are most exposed to it. In this they know how to be unwaveringly rigid and strict towards themselves and others.
Serious health consequences:
Eating disorders are usually progressive. Thus, if a person stops taking industrial bread and processed products a little later and if the disorder develops, it is likely that he or she is gradually eliminating the necessary nutrients, such as vegetables or meat, from his or her diet. non-ecological.These people are becoming more and more demanding and rigid with everything related to food. They remove several groups of foods and do not replace them with others, which in the long run brings a large deficiency in essential vitamins or minerals. If the case is very serious and if the obsession cannot be controlled, it is likely that the person will fall into malnutrition.
As a result of this inappropriate regimen, they show signs of fatigue and are more vulnerable to disease. Their immune system is affected by a decrease in the level of sodium in the blood, as well as platelets and red and white blood cells.In addition to these physiological consequences, on a psychological level, these are people who have high levels of dopamine and low levels of serotonin, who show anxiety combined with excessive euphoria.
IMPACT ON SOCIAL LIFE:
People with orthorexia can be so highly focused on their diet that they eliminate most of the products and constantly check how something is prepared, so it soon becomes impossible to eat outside. This can lead to a number of problems that also threaten social life, as for example orthorexic people do not want to eat when visiting friends, avoid restaurants and parties where they cannot control food preparation and make sure everything is up to their standards.All of this is exacerbated by information on social media, which is often unverified and based solely on the experiences of celebrities.
HOW TO TREAT?
Although orthorexia would probably be attributed to women, men suffer from it almost as much. People with low self-esteem, vegetarians and vegans are at higher risk. Orthorexia often has other disorders that lead to it. Some may be obsessed with counting calories and following trends that say we need to eat healthy. Others suffer from anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder that has prompted them to eat this way.
The disease must definitely be taken seriously and a doctor involved in the treatment. Talking to a psychiatrist who specializes in eating disorders also helps a lot.