I thought I was familiar with most forms of eating disorders, but a recently-coined disorder Orthorexia Nervosa keeps popping up everywhere I look. For those of you who haven’t heard the term yet, specialists describe Orthorexia as an unhealthy fixation or obsession with healthy eating. I’m all for nutritious eating and everything, but I’ve always held that there’s such a thing as being too healthy.
I don’t mean to make light of what could potentially be a serious mental disorder, but you all know there’s a so-called orthorexic in every group. It’s bad enough that you can’t go out to eat with her without being guilted into a salad, but she also feels the need to critique anything and everything you put into your own mouth. The main difference between an anorexic and an orthorexic is that the latter isn’t necessarily eating healthy in order to be skinny. They are more obsessed concerned with the quality and health of their food. Dr. Steven Bratman, the alternative medicine specialist who originated the term, says, “If your focus on healthy eating is interfering with your happiness and social life…you might have a problem.”
While I believe that it’s easy to become obsessed with healthy eating, I’m not sure if orthorexia nervosa should actually become a medically-diagnosed disorder. Whether it will be entered into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has yet to be seen, but from what I can tell, we’re probably just dealing with a severe case of OCD.