Orthorexia Nervosa: Not in the DSM-5

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Not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association...yet

At the recent meeting of the New England Psychological Association in Worcester, Massachusetts, Marist College student Francesca Treglia presented “Orthorexia Nervosa: Should this Classification Be in Any Updates of DSM-5?” Treglia received research supervision from William Van Ornum, Ph.D., FAPA, professor of psychology at Marist as well as professional advisory-board member of The American Mental Health Foundation.

Orthorexia Nervosa is known as the “unhealthy obsession with eating ‘healthily.'” An individual will obsess over foods he or she considers “healthy,” will remove these “impure” foods from his or her diet, and will ignore good dietary principles that stress a balanced diet.

Although the American Dietetic Association now recognizes Orthorexia Nervosa as an established and documented disorder, it can be treated by registered clinical dietitians. However, since it is not recognized in the DSV-5 of the American Psychiatric Association, it does not yet having a billing code used by psychiatrists and psychologists, hence these professions cannot formally treat and/or receive payment for treating someone with this condition.

Goals of treatment may include acknowledging the obsession, becoming flexible with different food options, learning the ingredients of “truly healthy eating,” and not letting food choices and schedules determine human relationships and life activities.

Francesca Treglia is a student at Marist in Poughkeepsie, New York. She is a leader in an emerging group of undergraduate students who combine coursework with independent research, which they present at regional or national conferences. This activity is one which, in the past, has been more commonly part of the graduate experience.

Treglia’s next research venture is to study in Japan and combine this work with research into the Japanese culture.

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