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What Is Orthorexia Nervosa? - Signs And Symptoms
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What is Orthorexia nervosa?

This is has become a fascinating topic in the medical field and especially in terms of weight loss and eating disorders. Healthy eating has been emphasized by medical experts and for years now people have been advised to eat healthily and more consciously. However, it has been noticed that there are individuals who tend to over-do this. It is good to eat healthy foods, but once you go to the extremes, it turns to "killer food". In short, over emphasizing healthy weight loss if the answer to the question, what is Orthorexia nervosa.

Orthorexia nervosa has been described as the strangest eating disorder of them all. A wise man once said that too much of everything is poisonous. Well, the same applies to this case. Moderation is the key element and we have to keep it in mind. Once we plan to cut weight, the first step in our strategy is changing the diet. This is a good step but it should be done in moderation. If not, it turns into an obsession and can lead to Orthorexia nervosa. To some, it becomes a religion. One thing with Orthorexic people is that they find skinny to be beautiful. Therefore, they will result into anything to achieve this body type; whether through consuming macrobiotics, raw foods or following a just eat "fill-in-the-blank" strict diet.

Signs & Symptoms:

Many people do not see the sense in this disorder. They trend to argue that Orthorexic people are still very healthy. This is why the question what is Orthorexia nervosa has become common in magazines, blogs and even at medical seminars. Doctors answer by describing it and giving the symptoms since not even the Orthorexic individuals know the symptoms unless stated by a physician. The most common sign is that such persons tend to avoid social interactions. This is because they are too obsessed with healthy eating such that all their conversations are about it. They also tend to feel superior to the normal person since he or she feeds on a “more superior diet” than the rest.

Another symptom that doctors emphasize on when answering what is Orthorexia nervosa is the fact that these individuals spend more than half of their lives completely obsessed with following extreme diets. This is by reading periodicals on this topic, preparing bizarre food recipes or shopping for very rare foods. Finally, they go to an extent of punishing themselves for the slightest mistake. Take for example tasting some fries, an Orthorexic individual would feel immense guilty for this and look for some sort of self-punishment for this.


Treating this disorder depends on the level it has reached, and of course must be conducted by experts working with eating disorders. However, the general treatment is based on therapy and alternative food change choices. There are trained professionals who deal with treating Orthorexia nervosa. As you can imagine, it is a very debatable “disease” but becoming more frequently diagnosed.

A Controversial Topic?

Some people may find the term somewhat insulting, especially in a society where we are told to eat right and not consume anything unhealthy for fear of weight gain, obesity, disease or what have you... Thus, labeling the person who tries to play by the new healthy rules as having a disorder is cause for some uproar.

Maintaining a Balanced Lifestyle:

There's definitely some truth in the phrase "eat in moderation". Being realistic while learning about tips for staying healthy, and living a normal life are really what are they key points to take from this discussion. Devoting ALL of one's waking moments obsessing about being perfectly healthy is not the best way to live a balanced life-style. Understanding what Orthorexia nervosa is and avoiding going to the extremes is important, especially if you’re finding that you or someone you know may be at-risk.

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