It is no secret that eating disorders have been on the rise, or that the sufferers have been getting younger. While eating disorders like orthorexia were once largely limited to teenagers and young adults, these conditions are increasingly being seen in younger people, including middle school students of both genders.
That is why it is so important for parents and loved ones to educate themselves about the dangers of eating disorders, including lesser-known ones like orthorexia. At first glance, orthorexia, which involves eating large quantities of foods considered healthy and strictly avoiding ones deemed harmful, may seem like a good thing, but that is not always the case.
A Different Kind of Eating Disorder
What sets orthorexia apart from healthy eating is the level of obsession its sufferers display. Eating disorders always have an element of obsession about them, and in the case of orthorexia, this compulsion can turn what should be a healthy diet into a dangerously imbalanced eating plan when suffers refuse to eat anything considered “bad” or “unhealthy”, sometimes cutting out entire food groups.
If you think your commitment to healthy eating has tipped over into a potentially dangerous compulsion, or if you recognize these eating habits in someone you care about, it is important to get help as soon as possible. As with all eating disorders, orthorexia tends to get worse over time, and that makes seeking prompt and effective orthorexia treatment essential.
A Number of Treatments
The type of orthorexia treatment will depend on a number of factors, including how deep the compulsion is, the level of concern among family members and doctors and complicating factors like dietary and vitamin deficiencies.
In some cases, initial orthorexia treatment may consist of psychological counseling, a form of psychotherapy designed to find the root cause of the eating disorder. Behavioral therapy and education may also be used, primarily to help the sufferer design a healthy diet and understand the dangers of this type of eating.
The Role of Medication
In some cases, medication may also be used, either to supplement psychotherapy and behavioral therapy or on its own. There are a number of promising medications that play a role in orthorexia treatment, and researchers are working hard to find additional drugs as well.
If someone you care about suffers from orthorexia, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help, the better off you, and your loved one, will be.
Orthorexia is a lesser-known but still dangerous eating disorder, one about which sufferers and their families need to know.