From the Greek "ortho", meaning straight, true, correct,
and "orexia", referring to appetite.
Orthorexia Nervosa refers to a fixation on eating healthy
food. The term does not denote an actual recognized
diagnosis, and was coined by Dr. Steven Bratman to describe
what he saw as a behaviour pattern that was just as
destructive to one's health and life in general as the
better known eating disorders.
As with most eating disorders, this one starts out with
good intentions, and the person begins to follow a diet for
what he or she believes are health related reasons. As the
diet progresses, however, food choices become increasingly
narrow, and supplements may become increasingly important.
Social outings become restricted, as there is more and more
attention to a restrictive diet. Lapses from the diet are
generally followed by feelings of guilt and a possible move
to an even stricter diet. The diet eventually comes to rule
the person's life to the point that thoughts and activities
all revolve around food. Where people with anorexia and
bulimia focus on the quantity of food, people with
orthorexia focus obsessively on the quality of food.