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Orthorexia Nervosa Nutrition Therapy in the St. Louis Area, Missouri, and Illinois

Get Treatment for Orthorexia from ED Dietitian Specialists
Create healthy eating patterns. Challenge disordered eating thoughts and end unwanted restrictive eating behaviors. Improve your relationship with food and body. Experience food freedom and recovery.

What is orthorexia nervosa?

Orthorexia Nervosa is a term used to describe an unhealthy obsession with eating health or “clean” foods. It’s not considered a formal diagnosis in the DSM-5, however individuals with orthorexia may struggle with excessive amounts of time and energy researching, planning, and preparing meals, while avoiding certain food groups and/or ingredients.

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What causes orthorexia nervosa?

Similar to other eating disorders, a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors can cause orthorexia. However, unlike some eating disorders, orthorexia can develop due to societal norms and beliefs about food and body image and also be sustained by the validation received from others who share similar views (disordered views of ‘health’ and ‘purity’ and ‘clean eating’). 

 

Biological factors can include a family history of disordered eating behaviors, perfectionistic and obsessive personality traits, childhood illness related to diet, and the belief that medical problems can be cured with ‘pure’ eating.

 

Psychological factors can include low self-esteem, a history of abuse or trauma, co-occurring mental health diagnoses (OCD, anxiety, etc.), a history of dieting, family beliefs centered around ‘purity’ and ‘health’, and the need for control, among others.

Finally, social factors can include the “thin” ideal, social media, fad diets and the diet industry, and peer pressure to look a certain way. 

 

Though it isn’t part of the DSM-5, people struggling with orthorexia need care. Recovery is possible. If you or someone you care about is experiencing the Orthorexic behaviors described earlier, it's important not to downplay these struggles. Recognize that you're facing challenges and reach out for support. We offer online and in-person outpatient nutrition counseling, providing compassionate care for lasting healing and recovery.

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What is the treatment for orthorexia?

In our outpatient treatment center, we recommend a multidisciplinary team to address the nutrition and psychological aspects of orthorexia. This team might include a dietitian, therapist, and psychiatrist.

 

Nutrition therapy includes:

  • Establishing a trusting relationship.

  • Assessing nutritional status.

  • Identifying disordered eating behaviors.

  • Challenging rigid food rules and beliefs about 'purity' and 'clean' eating.

  • Encouraging exposure to feared foods and situations.

  • Addressing underlying emotional and psychological factors.

  • Identifying triggers.

  • Collaborating with your healthcare team (therapists, psychiatrists, medical doctors).

  • Monitoring progress and adjusting treatment strategies as needed.

Recovery from orthorexia is achievable. We provide compassionate, holistic nutrition care for you to experience food freedom and restore your relationship with food and body.

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How to recover from orthorexia nervosa?

Recovery varies for each individual; however, during nutrition therapy, we like to focus on exposure therapy to challenge the various rules and beliefs regarding “clean” eating. This may involve introducing foods that have been restricted for some time.

 

An eating disorder dietitian can help to meal plan and provide recommendations for incorporating “fear foods” back into your diet while working to reduce anxiety and guilt.

How much does treatment for orthorexia nervosa cost?

Branz Nutrition takes most major insurances and pending your plans coverage for nutrition sessions, the session can be covered at 100%. We always recommend checking your benefits for nutrition counseling to understand what is covered and what is not. We can only provide services based on what they allow, following their specific guidelines. Such perimeters include:

  • Limitations in visits 

  • Requiring a certain amount of time in between appointments

  • No additional support between appointments 

  • Check your medical nutrition therapy benefits here.

While nutritional counseling can be beneficial for various conditions, we find that, specifically for those suffering from disordered eating, continuous support and ongoing accountability is the game changer in achieving recovery.

 

We also provide affordable, self-pay options. We believe that full recovery is possible with the right support and treatment. We look forward to being part of your healing process.

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