top of page

Orthorexia Nervosa Treatment

An office at our eating disorder therapy and nutrition counseling offices in Newtown, PA. We provide therapy for eating disorders and Orthorexia eating disorder treatment near me

At Beyond, we provide Orthorexia Nervosa treatment, offering eating disorder therapy and eting disorder nutrition counseling services.

Orthorexia is a term coined to describe an obsession with healthy eating that can lead to serious physical and mental health issues.

 
With diet culture and the wellness industry becoming increasingly prominent in mainstream media, focus on health and “clean eating” is blurring the lines of what it really means to eat in health-promoting ways.
 
It's important to recognize when seemingly healthful eating behaviors cross the line into something harmful.

Beyond Therapy and Nutrition Center can support you if you're looking
for treatment for Orthorexia!


What is Orthorexia?

Since Orthorexia is not yet officially recognized as a distinct eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), standardized diagnostic criteria does not exist. However, in the medical community, and especially the eating disorder field, it’s gaining a lot of attention and is important to include in eating disorder care. Orthorexia is an eating disorder characterized by a pattern of disordered eating that involves an obsession with eating healthy foods, to the point where it interferes with daily life and causes detriment to one’s health. Individuals with orthorexia may have strict food rules about which types of food they will or will not eat based on perceived health benefits/costs and spend a large amount of time planning around food and showing signs of distress about food that is deemed “unhealthy.” Oftentimes, these behaviors start as a genuine desire to improve health, but can spiral into a rigid and restrictive dietary regimen that causes interference in an individual’s daily functioning, including physical, emotional, and social problems.

Orthorexia can have a big impact on one's health and wellbeing. Since restriction of the amount of food or certain food groups is a key element of orthorexia, malnutrition and deficiencies in essential nutrients can occur. Health risks of orthorexia are similar to those found in anorexia nervosa since they share some common symptoms (i.e. food restriction), and some of these health concerns include cardiovascular problems, digestive disruption, neurological changes, anemia, dehydration, hair loss, high cholesterol, and hormone imbalances. Additionally, if an individual is socially isolated due to disordered eating patterns or compulsive food rules, orthorexia can impair relationships and overall social functioning. 
 
Who is affected by orthorexia nervosa?

Anyone, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or body size can experience orthorexia nervosa. Exposure to dieting or obsession with health and weight in one’s family of origin, social circle, or social media can increase risk of developing orthorexia symptoms. Body dysmorphic disorder or other body image concerns or worrying frequently about one’s health can also increase risk of orthorexia. Certain mental health conditions may make it more likely for someone to experience orthorexia, including anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, perfectionistic tendencies, and/or anorexia. 

Signs and Symptoms

Many Orthorexia symptoms are behaviors that are considered socially acceptable and are often even encouraged in today’s “wellness infused” and “health-conscious” culture, which can make identifying the disorder challenging.

Some common signs and symptoms someone with Orthorexia may experience:
 

  • Obsessive concern over the quality and cleanliness of food

  • Strict dietary rules and rituals for types of food or how to prepare/consume food

  • Cutting out increasing amounts of food groups

  • Anxiety or guilt when eating foods thought to be “unhealthy” or “unclean”

  • Unusual interest in the foods others are consuming and whether or not they’re “healthy”

  • Avoidance of social situations involving food

  • Preoccupation with meal planning or other food related thoughts

  • Compulsive checking of ingredient lists

  • Weight loss or malnutrition

  • Digestive issues, such as constipation, bloating, or stomach pain

  • Following many social media accounts with “healthy food and lifestyle” content

  • Feelings of superiority about their nutrition and may be intolerant of others’ health choices

  • Body image concerns may or may not be present


Beyond’s Treatment Approaches for Orthorexia Nervosa

At Beyond our team consists of eating disorder therspists and eating disorder dietitians who are skilled at treating Orthorexia. Our treatment professionals have a weight inclusive and Health at Every Size (HAES) approach. Individuals can choose to work with either a dietitian or therapist or both depending on their recovery needs and preferences. Our team may encourage you to include other health care providers to address physical health concerns and are happy to collaborate with your other providers and advocate on your behalf if desired. 


Treatment may start with psychoeducation about health promoting behaviors and overall health and wellbeing (since food makes up only a small portion of our health) and learning where previous health messaging has come from in the past to determine which information is promoting an individual’s health and if there has been misinformation that is harming them. A goal for treatment may include maintaining balance and flexibility in your approach to eating. Our team is passionate about helping individuals redefine what health means for them and rediscovering ways to care for their body that don’t involve harsh control and punishment and fostering a sense of body trust and freedom!
 

arfid therapy in pennsylvania and new jersey

Working with a HAES-aligned therapist for orthorexia can support an individual in challenging harmful thoughts patterns and behaviors around food. A therapist can support you in addressing underlying issues driving the obsession with healthy eating, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, obsessive-compulsive or perfectionism, etc. In therapy, you can learn coping skills to manage underlying factors that are driving disordered eating behaviors and help you to reconnect with your body’s needs. If body image or self-esteem concerns are present, our team is skilled at addressing these concerns and supporting you in improving your relationship with your body and food. 

Image by Jennifer Schmidt

Working with a registered dietitian for orthorexia can support an individual in gaining valuable knowledge about nutrition and how to adequately support their body’s needs. A registered dietitian can work with an individual to address any nutritional deficiencies that have resulted from orthorexia and support them in learning the benefits of eating all foods. Individuals can choose to work on increasing their comfort with foods previously feared with their dietitian and can work to strengthen their relationship with food and their body. 

Image by Cherrydeck

HAES &

Intuitive Eating

Orthorexia is characterized by strict and rigid food rules in an attempt to control the body and health status. The HAES approach seeks to support individuals with increasing flexibility in their thinking about overall health and their eating habits. Intuitive eating encourages individuals to reconnect with their body cues to meet their needs and strengthen their relationship with their body and self- a relationship that fosters self-compassion and self-acceptance. 

Orthorexia nervosa is a complex and potentially dangerous condition that warrants attention and awareness. If you or someone you know is struggling with orthorexia nervosa or disordered eating behaviors, reach out to our team to see how Beyond can help.

Beyond's eating disorder therapists offer online therapy for Orthorexia in Pennslvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida and in person therapy for eating disorders in Newtown, Pennslyvania.

Beyond's eating disorder dietitians offer in-person nutrition counseling in Newtown, Pennsylvania and online nutrition counseling for eating disorders in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Virginia,

Colorado, Texas, California, Connecticut and Arizona.

bottom of page