09/08/2021 at 7:25 PM CEST
Good resolutions like quitting smoking, doing more sports or eating better are not exclusive to the New Year. For many, they are part of the objectives to be met to improve their health after a summer of excesses.
And of course, after the spring ‘bikini operation’, diets return to the fore in many homes.
It may interest you: More than half of young people have gained weight during the pandemic
It is a reality that the main and fundamental key to having good health is to eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet. However, this evidence can be taken to an extreme where it ends up turning against those who are most concerned about their diet.
Become an obsession that far from benefit your health harms her. Not only the physical, but also the mental.
The need to eat a healthy diet free of any type of nutrient considered harmful to the body can become an obsessive compulsive disorder called “orthorexia.”
Dangerous like bulimia
A person suffering from this disorder is characterized by performing a very restrictive diet, avoiding at all costs foods that contain not only fats, or sugars, but also preservatives, colorings or other components that are ‘unhealthy’.
Orthorexia is a disorder very similar to bulimia or anorexia, and just as dangerous.
Since this obsession with health can lead to the opposite: serious health problems due to deficiencies of essential nutrients, by dispensing with healthy fats, for example, which provide essential vitamins such as vitamin D and which by default would weaken the immune system.
“This disorder usually leads to very rapid and pronounced weight loss, lack of energy and fatigue (even by what determines the time to plan and organize your diet) and greater ease to suffer injuries, together with excessive sport without being well nourished” says nutritionist Verónica Velasco from Sanitas.
Even in very extreme and prolonged cases, orthorexia has led to health problems that have required surgical interventions.
“There are cases in which the subject ends up fainting and controlled hydration treatments have to be performed to regulate ion levels or implant nasogastric feeding tubes or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomies”, explains Dr. Cecilia Sanz García, specialist in Digestive Diseases of the Sanitas la Moraleja University Hospital.
Symptoms of orthorexia
This restrictive diet will be reflected in behaviors that obsessively seek to improve health. The most significant are:
People who spend more than three hours thinking about their daily diet People who plan their meals rigidly having the need to control each composition of the food, portion and combination between them These types of patients experience a very high feeling of guilt if they skip some of their dietary demands.
“On a psychological level, he registers a series of quite marked behavior patterns that clearly affect his ability to have balanced social coexistence”, explains Raquel Velasco del Castillo, a psychologist at Sanitas.
Meals with friends, with family, become unbearable for people with this disorder. This means that they tend to fall into social isolation due to their food rigidity.
In short, orthorexia carries both physical and psychological consequences that are very dangerous and that must be detected and treated as soon as possible by physical and mental health professionals.
The solutions to this disorder are usually found in the field of psychology. The treatment will seek to detect the origin of this disorder, most of them closely related to obsessive traits.
«Once we detect the problem, the treatment that, in any case, must be multidisciplinary, will be the awareness of the patient about the risks they run at the nutritional and social level of maintaining these strict habits and a therapeutic intervention will be carried out to equip the person of the ability to make their guidelines more flexible, achieving true healthy habits, ”explains the psychologist.
Although psychological work is necessary to overcome orthorexia, it requires the support of the social and family environment.
“Loved ones will be a very valuable support and support resource for the patient, always guided by the advice of health professionals who are working with the patient,” he concludes.
In this way, little by little you will manage the problem of orthorexia and you will reestablish your quality of life and social life.