Just a brief guide on how to play a character with an eating disorder called Orthorexia Nervosa. This guide is based strictly off research and I can’t tell you whether or not it’s 100% accurate, given I don’t have it nor do I know anyone who does. But anyways, if you’re going to reblog this, please make sure to be considerate by tagging the post with a trigger warning.
Anyone with an unhealthy obsession with healthy, clean and/or pure eating may be suffering from an uncommon eating disorder called “orthorexia nervosa,” a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.” Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthy, clean foods, but orthorexics (the sufferers of this disorder) become fixated on food quality and purity. They become obsessed with what and how much they eat, and how to deal with their “slip-ups.” An iron-clad will is needed to maintain this rigid eating style. Self-esteem usually becomes wrapped up in the purity of an orthorexics’ diet and they sometimes feel superior to others, especially in regard to food intake.
Eventually food choices become so restrictive, in both variety and calories, that their health declindes – an ironic twist for a person so completely dedicated to healthy eating. Eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can crowd out other activities and interests, impair relationships, and become physically dangerous.
SYMPTOMS / SIGNS OF AN ORTHOREXIC:
Orthorexics generally avoid numerous foods, including those made with:
What are the Effects of Orthorexia?
Orthorexia symptoms are serious, chronic, and go beyond a lifestyle choice. Obsession with healthy food can progress to the point where it crowds out other activities and interests, impairs relationships, and even becomes physically dangerous. When this happens, orthorexia takes on the dimensions of a true eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. One effect of this drive to eat only the right foods (and perhaps only in the right ways) is that it can give a person with orthorexia a sense of superiority to others. This can put a strain on relationships with family and friends, as relationships become less important than holding to dietary patterns.
Maintaining an obsession with health food may cause a restriction of calories merely because available food isn’t considered to be good enough. The person with orthorexia may lose enough weight to give her a body mass index consistent with someone with anorexia (i.e., less than 18.5). If the dietary restrictions are too severe, malnutrition can result. In rare cases, particularly in the case of women with unaddressed co-occurring disorders or another addiction, orthorexia may result in severe malnutrition and weight loss, which can cause cardiac complications or even death.
How are Anorexia Nervosa and Orthorexia Similar?
Orthorexia is a term with varying levels of acceptance in the eating disorder treatment community. Some eating disorder specialists regard orthorexia as a discrete diagnosis like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Others, however, believe that patients with orthorexia symptoms are actually suffering from anorexia. Sufferers of orthorexia and anorexia may show similarities such as:
How are Orthorexia and Anorexia Nervosa Different?
Obsession with weight is one of the primary signs of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, but is not a symptom of orthorexia. Instead, the object of the orthorexic’s obsession is with the health implications of their dietary choices. While a person with anorexia restricts food intake in order to lose weight, a person with orthorexia wants to feel pure, healthy and natural. The focus is on quality of foods consumed rather than quantity.
Signs and symptoms of eating disorders must be evaluated in the context of a person’s feelings, emotions, and self esteem. It’s crucial to seek appropriate clinical advice from a professional with experience treating orthorexia, anorexia and other psychiatric conditions. The obsessive tendencies associated with orthorexia can indicate a co-occurring disorder that should be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist.
Other kinds of "uncommon" unofficial Eating Disorders --
Because of the inherent danger in eating non-food items, it is extremely important that an individual suffering with Pica be evaluated by a doctor, given the correct diagnosis, and treated promptly. The treatment that will follow will depend on the causes of the behavior. If the compulsion is driven by a vitamin or mineral deficiency, supplements will be prescribed; Examination of the home environment, behavior-modification therapy and psychological treatment may also be needed.
Pica is fairly common in pregnant women and symptoms usually disappear following the birth of the child.
Complications of pica can include lead poisoning, malnutrition, abdominal problems, intestinal obstruction, hypokalemia, hyperkalemia, mercury poisoning, phosphorus intoxication, and dental injury.
* It may be possible (but uncommon) for people with Anorexia and/or Bulimia to develop Pica because of the compulsive nature of these illnesses to binge, and/or the malnutrition that can set in. If the two disorders co-exist, it is important to tell your doctor of both.
"Night Eating Syndrome consists of morning anorexia, evening hyperphagia (abnormally increased appetite for consumption of food frequently associated with injury to the hypothalamus) and insomnia. Attempts at weight reduction in these 2 conditions, (referring to bulimia as well), are usually unsuccessful and may cause the patient unnecessary distress."
The authors call both syndromes, “deviant eating patterns apparently based on stress and emotional disturbance…”
Episodes of Anorexia and Insomnia can begin at an early age, usually in children who are overweight, and are sometimes accompanied by joint paint. It is interesting to note what the parent of a now 24 year old daughter had to say…
"I’ve always had the feeling that much of the stress and emotional disturbances my daughter has suffered have been the result of social rejection and discrimination rather than the cause of her eating disorder … more so as she got older. She started out as an intelligent, outgoing, cheerful human being. There is a line in our culture where a marginally acceptable "chubby" child becomes a miserable adolescent and then a depressed adult."- - - - - - -
People with Night-eating syndrome are characterized as people that put off eating until late in the day, who binge on food in the evenings and who experience problems with falling asleep and/or staying asleep.
"People who exhibit NES don’t eat a lot at one sitting, often skip breakfast, and don’t start eating until noon," says psychiatrist Albert Stunkard, an obesity researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. "They will over eat the rest of the day, and eat frequently. They also have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep."