What is orthorexia nervosa?
Orthorexia nervosa is a term coined by Steven Bratman in 1997 for an obsession with healthy or “clean” eating. This obsession leads to restrictive behaviors. But, unlike other eating disorders, the person is focused on food quality as opposed to quantity.1
Although it’s not currently classified as an eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), many mental health providers acknowledge the negative consequences of obsessive “pure” eating.1
Without formal diagnostic criteria and recognition by the American Psychological Association, it’s difficult to approximate how many people struggle with orthorexia nervosa. But various studies have estimated prevalence to be between 1% and 6.9%, with a higher rate in health care professionals and performance artists.1
Regardless of its status, professionals can agree that orthorexia is a serious concern that often requires treatment and medical care.
What are the symptoms of orthorexia nervosa?
If you are concerned that you or someone you love may have orthorexia nervosa, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with some of the most common symptoms of this eating disorder. Remember, prioritizing nutritious eating doesn’t necessarily mean you have an orthorexia. Rather, orthorexia nervosa is present when you are extremely obsessed with healthy eating, despite your academic, occupational, or social functioning may be impaired due to your fixations.