Here are some signs you need to look for to determine if a friend of family member needs to seek Orthorexia treatment:
1) Spending three or more hours a day obsessing about healthy foods and planning what to eat.
2) Suffering from extreme feelings of guilt, self-loathing or fear when they stray from their diet.
3) Willingness to sacrifice friendships, relationships and activities they once enjoyed in order to eat “right.”
4) Placing the virtue of food above the enjoyment or pleasure of eating it.
5) Gaining self-esteem and a sense of control from eating only “healthy” foods.
6) Looking down on others people who do not eat the same way.
7) Isolating themselves socially in order to maintain their specific eating plan.
People in need of Orthorexia treatment allow this “healthy” eating to turn into fanaticism. Their quality of life begins to diminish and can endanger their physical health. Unlike Anorexia or Bulimia the primary obsession of Orthorexia is not weight loss but eating “right.” This “healthy” eating becomes harmful, resulting in malnutrition and eventual starvation.
Most Orthorexia treatment requires psychological counseling. This is an eating disorder therefore the services of a doctor or nutritionist are highly recommended. When seeking the aid of a therapist it is important that you find someone who is capable of addressing all aspects of the individual. They must be able to deal with the intellectual, relational, physical, emotional and spiritual aspect of the individual. Orthorexia treatment can be administered through exposure to new experiences and attitudes toward food and health. The person may require individual as well as group therapy sessions as well as education on the importance of a proper diet. As with any eating disorder Orthorexia needs to be treated as early as possible in order to stop the destructive cycle before it grows into something that cannot be managed or corrected. For any treatment to be successful it is important to discover where these thoughts and feelings about food and eating habits begin. Quite often these problems stem from issues of low self-esteem or a need for more control in their own lives.