Orthorexia Nervosa is not as well known or discussed as Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa, nor is it a recognized medical diagnosis, meaning that, to date, insurance companies will not reimburse for the treatment of orthorexia. This disorder has things in common with other eating disorders, but differs in important ways. Persons suffering from orthorexia find themselves compulsively obsessed with eating pure and healthy food. This might include organic or other foods sold in health stores. This obsession is frequently so intense that when rules are broken, individuals feel compelled to punish themselves, often by maintaining an even stricter diet or by fasting.
Individuals struggling with orthorexia obsess over what is eaten, how much of it is eaten and how it was prepared. This obsession with food takes over a person’s life, often disabling them to live any type of ordinary life, as their life becomes secondary to the obsession with food. Social relationships are compromised, occupational difficulties can ensue, and depression and anxiety are common. These individuals often need the help of a psychologist or the assistance of an eating disorder treatment center to recover.