Understanding Orthorexia

Orthorexia is the term given to certain behaviours or obsessions around eating “clean” or “pure” food.

This goes beyond wanting to eat a healthy diet. It relates to an extreme awareness and preoccupation with the quality of food, and it can have detrimental consequences on a person’s physical and psychological health

Counsellor with patient

Signs and symptoms of Orthorexia

  • Spending a lot of time on meal planning
  • Avoidance of entire food groups deemed “unhealthy”
  • Feeling guilty or anxious if you eat a food you don’t consider to be “clean”
  • Avoiding social events involving food over fear you may not be able to eat anything there
  • Isolating yourself from friends, family or your career in pursuit of following “healthy” eating habits
  • Low self-esteem
  • Desire to feel in control
  • Interest or obsession with social media food bloggers

A personalised approach to Orthorexia treatment

Our comprehensive treatment process for Orthorexia begins with a thorough assessment and diagnosis.

We then create individualised treatment plans tailored to each client’s needs.

ED Emergency Care Guidance
therapy session for a teenage girl

Have Questions?

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder or you’re worried that you might be, please get in touch with us today.

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Frequently asked questions

Individuals with eating disorders may exhibit traits such as perfectionism, low self-esteem, and a desire for control, but it varies among individuals.

Yes, eating disorders are relatively common, affecting individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of eating disorders has increased and it is estimated that there are approximately 1.25 million people living with an eating disorder in the UK. Around 25% of those are male.

With appropriate treatment, support, and ongoing care, it is possible to heal from an eating disorder. Recovering from an eating disorder is an ongoing process.

Eating disorders usually involve complex factors, and while some may develop unintentionally, many result from a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental influences.

Treatment programmes often accommodate special diets or intolerances, and nutritional counselling can address individual dietary needs.

Binge eating disorder is characterised by episodes of consuming large amounts of food with a feeling of loss of control.

Causes of eating disorders are multifactorial, including genetic predisposition (family history of eating disorder or other mental health condition), psychological factors (depression, anxiety, fear of being overweight, being a perfectionist), societal pressures (social media, having a job or hobby where size matters), and individual experiences (abuse, bullying, personal criticism about diet/eating, family tension).

Anorexia nervosa involves restrictive eating and extreme thinness, while bulimia nervosa involves cycles of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours like vomiting or excessive exercise.

Disordered eating refers to unhealthy eating behaviours, while an eating disorder involves a persistent and severe disturbance in eating habits, often accompanied by emotional and physical issues.

People may develop eating disorders due to a combination of genetic, psychological, sociocultural, and environmental factors.

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