How is orthorexia treated?

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Carol Cottrill
Nutrition & Dietetics

A good place to begin recovery is through recognizing that diet alone does not make a better person, and that centering self-esteem on the quality of one’s diet is irrational. While food and nourishment is important, it is one small aspect of life. The goal to a truly healthy relationship with food and overall wellness is in the shift from an identity of a person who eats healthy food to a broader definition of character–to a person who loves, who works, who plays, and who is free- living life and enjoying food in balance, moderation, pleasure and peace. 

Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy
Because orthorexia nervosa is not a diagnosable disorder, an effective treatment protocol has not yet been developed. It may be difficult for sufferers to comply with a plan for medication management because they are likely to see such chemicals as unnatural and unacceptable. Some suggest that identifying a cause for the obsession and processing those deeper emotional issues may be important in treatment. Others suggest that sufferers must learn to recognize other important aspects of their personality beyond someone who eats healthy foods. Groups may actually not be helpful for orthorexia nervosa because social isolation can be a motivation for treatment for sufferers. It is always helpful to learn new techniques to manage stress while making any lifestyle change.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.