Orthorexia… your thoughts?

posted 3 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
Member
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Rachel631:  I think it still is an eating disorder. It’s under EDNOS–Eating disorder not otherwise specified!

Post # 5
Member
1749 posts
Bumble bee

Orthorexia is a disorder, to me at least. It is similar to anorexia and bulimia, but because of the differences it probably does need a different name. Maybe not a different medical name, but different enough for the average person to better understand it.

It is not trivial at all. It probably should not be insulting to sufferers of anorexia or bulimia, because an eating disorder is an eating disorder. As long as these eating disorders are identified, categorized, diagnosed, treated and dealt with correctly, there should not be a problem. If the understanding and treatment of one disorder negatively affects the understanding and treatment of another disorder, then yes that would likely be insulting, and probably dangerous. 

 

When a person spends so much time focusing on health that it becomes unhealthy, that’s a problem and is abnormal. When it becomes life threatening it is definitely abnormal and in need of treatment. 

 

I’m not really sure how to answer the rest of the questions clearly, so I’ll stop here. 

 

Post # 6
Member
10494 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

@Rachel631:  How serious does something have to be to medicalize it?  Someone can have a mild allergy, but it’s still a medical allergy.  And who says it can’t be serious?

It’s one thing if someone is able to get all the nutrients they need despite sticking to a strict diet.  What about when they aren’t because they are in a location that lacks enough organic options or something like that?

What if someone has to resort to using the food bank but they will only eat the organic options?

Post # 7
Member
9226 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2018

Sounds like an eating disorder to me, and you asked Is this far more trivial than anorexia and bulemia, and could it be insulting to sufferers of these illnesses to consider orthorexia in this way. I would say it is insulting to sufferers of orthorexia to suggest it is trivial and not a real disorder rather than insulting to anorexia or bulimia sufferers to consider it as an eating disorder. None of them are trivial.

Post # 8
Member
1749 posts
Bumble bee

@Rachel631:  Regarding your second post,  I honestly don’t think this says anything negative about societal norms.

For most people, throwing up is not the sign of a good and complete workout. They may understand throwing up if you are out of shape and it’s your first or second real workout, but after that they would see it as a problem. They would say that the person is working themselves way too hard and they need to stop pushing themselves too much. 

There are sub-cultures for lots of activities and behaviors that are dangerous. That doesn’t mean the activity and behavior isn’t dangerous. 

It is clearly a serious matter, which is why there is treatment for it, but because of how these medical things work, they need to understand it more to determine what to call it and what to consider it as. 

Post # 10
Member
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Rachel631:  I agree with a PP that is on the EDNOS spectrum. People with orthorexia can fit the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa though in some cases. Also there are two diff types of bulimia – purging & non-purging type so someone with orthorexia could fall under bulimia non-purging type depending on their habits. This is something that would have to be looked at individually since these blanket terms really only cover so much and cases need to be looked at individually. There is also a lot of kick-back and debate in the psychology community about the diagnostic criteria of eating disorders bc there are people who suffer from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa who do not fit the weight criteria of refusing to maintain 85% of healthy weight. This is especially seen with bulimia. There is also a lot of overlap with eating disorders so diagnosis is something that can be difficult. Anyway, I think like everything else it should be treated on a case by case basis. 

Post # 13
Member
4540 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Royalton White Sands

It’s definitely an ED, and I think it’s getting more and more common as people are starting to pay more attention to their health. There’s a line between wanting and working toward being healthy and being obsessed with your health. It’s just as serious as the other EDs, for sure. And I think other people are less prone to noticing it. It’s not talked about like anorexia and bulimia are, and so people don’t even know that it exists. People who aren’t educated about orthorexia might see someone with the disease and think, “I wish I was that dedicated to my health/fitness!” It’s sneaky that way.  

 

Post # 14
Member
1749 posts
Bumble bee

@Rachel631:  Disorders exist even though they don’t have names. 

For something such as this, naming it and categorizing it does make a difference in how people see it and how it is seen and treated in the medical field. But, even if it doesn’t have a name, behavior like this is usually taken on a case-by-case basis. 

 

ErinC6 gave a great response that I agree with, by the way. 

Post # 15
Member
1599 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Rachel631:  Thanks for posting about this- I have my suspicions about a few girls I work with and never looked into the name for this.  They’re the type who workout for hours before work, then take bootcamp at lunch, then a 5 mile run after work and all they talk about is what they eat, the suppliments they’re taking and the newest “medical” health fad (they’re currently not drinking any water except this really expensive magical “alkaline” water, to the point that they won’t even use ice from the office kitchen.) It seems completely physically and mentally exhausting to live like that… and honestly, they both look kind of freakish. They’re into “fitness modeling” as well (bodybuilding) and I don’t think I’ve seen either of them eat anything solid for weeks…they seem to exist on protein shakes and juices made with the holy water.

What I do find about them and other girls I’ve met with similar, eh, “habits” is that they seem hell-bent on converting everyone around them. I have also had friends with anorexia and they NEVER talk about food and would never wax poetic about their dietary “choices,” versus the other half seems really insistant in turning every conversation into one about Dr. Ozs new miracle food, or the best spin class in the city, or how you “really shouldn’t be eating that.”  Is that a disorder, or just a REALLY annoying personality trait?

Post # 16
Member
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Rachel631:  The “thin” idea is something that can be debated. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at age 9. I can tell you that my concerns were not vain, I could not have given two shits about my weight. My most recent relapse was at age 17/18. When I was 50lbs underweight and in the hospital, I did not think I looked good. I knew I looked like crap. It was about the control, self-hatred, numbers, etc (there are many studies that focus on the overlap between EDs and OCD). I would argue that most eating disorders are not about thinness (at least those that are long term). They are about control. Punishing yourself. Self-loathing. Now, this might not apply to all ED sufferers but this was definitely the case with me and many others I met in my recovery.

As for where to draw the line, I think with anything mental/emotional you have to really take into consideration how much it is affecting your life. Is it stopping you from doing things you want to? How much of your time is spent on it? IMO, that is the big difference between a hobby/part of your life and an obsession or disorder. 

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