Orthorexia is the term used to describe an obsession with only eating what are deemed to be ‘healthy’ foods, and see’s sufferers cutting out certain food groups as well as becoming preoccupied with exercise.
The National Centre for Eating Disorders (NCFED) has said they receive in excess of 6000 calls and emails per year from young people struggling with orthorexia and have raised concerns about the fact that many vulnerable teens who are in this group are instead considered to be going through a stage of trying out ‘fad’ diets.
NCFED psychologist and eating disorder specialist Deanne Jade, said: “Orthorexia is a disorder not many people are familiar with and it’s not just a wish to eat in a healthy way. It’s really something that increasingly dominates your life. Within this disorder, there are a lot of rules about food, such as eliminating carbs, meat or fat.”
Jade also said that sufferers may experience anxiety when eating out or in front of people, a sign that it is serious if it is beginning to affect your social life.
“I call orthorexia the first cousin of anorexia. The people who show signs of orthorexia could go on to develop other illnesses and have serious health problems in the future.” Said Jade.
If you are concerned you may be suffering from an eating disorder then your first port of call should always be your GP who will be able to provide you with professional advice and support. It also helps many individuals to confide in someone they trust, as this will allow you to outlet your feelings. If you would like to talk to a counsellor in confidence about this matter then please visit our homepage and use the search tool to locate a qualified professional in your local area.