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Orthorexia

Orthorexia is not currently recognised as a clinical diagnosis in the DSM-5.

For some sufferers, Orthorexic symptoms are an aspect of a recognised Eating Disorder such as Anorexia. For others it is a disorder in it’s own right - while a healthy weight may be maintained a healthy relationship with food and body is not.

Orthorexia is used to describe sufferers who take their concerns about eating 'healthy' foods to extremes, sufferers often restrict their intake to foods which they consider to be 'pure', 'natural', or 'clean'.

Attempts to follow extreme diets which may cut out whole food groups can lead to malnourishment, and sufferers can be left feeling guilty and at fault when their nutritionally inadequate diets lead to constant hunger and the resultant cravings for 'forbidden' foods.

Some sufferers of orthorexia may display obsessive compulsive traits, it may be that these are personality traits, however these may be as a result of starvation rather than a cause of the disorder, this kind of thinking can perpetuate the disordered eating and lead it to become an entrenched behaviour.

 Signs and symptoms


“I had consistently been losing weight for more than 8 months and had become accustomed to eating very little. This triggered a return of my anorexia, after a 20-year period of recovery. SWEDA were able to offer me an appointment the very next day. When we met I was feeling very ill and frightened.I spoke to them about my fears, but then took the decision to go to my doctor on the way home. I was admitted to hospital within a few days.”

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