We don’t have an unhealthy eating disorder but we do have…

I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but some of these psychiatrists most severely afflicted with Obsessive Disease Inventing Disorder have gone overboard lately. Our Most Ridiculous Disease Invention Award of the century goes out to Dr. Steven Bratman for coming up with Orthorexia Nervosa or Healthy Eating Disorder in 1997.

Bear with me, it’s a young century yet, we are experiencing some jetlag, and another doctor is bound to come up with something even more ludicrist.

Suite 101 has an article on the subject of our “disorder” with the heading Orthorexia Nervosa – Healthy Eating Disorder.

While it is difficult to argue that a healthy diet is unhealthy, anything taken to the extreme can become debilitating. Orthorexia Nervosa is not simply living a minority lifestyle in terms of food. It is becoming so caught up in eating “right” that food consumption is not a pleasure but rather a full-time job with some unsavory fringe benefits.

Yeah, excess in moderation. It’s the epicurean creed, I believe. Excessive excess can be debilitating. The problem here is not with health. How, after all, can health be unhealthy? The problem is with obsession, but obsession has to do with desire, and so it’s a matter of doctoring the heart. The problem with doctoring the heart is that the patient in this case is in no danger of cardiac arrest. We’re dealing with his or her relationships to things and people, but again, should we be making the intensity of moods and emotions out to be diseases?

Bratman offers ten signs of Orthorexia Nervosa in his book Health Food Junkies. These symptoms range from spending more than three hours a day thinking about healthy foods to feeling a sense of “control” when making food selections.

Certainly no one is going to become a health food junky, not such a bad preoccupation at all in my book, by thinking about food a mere 10 minutes during the course of a single day. When corporations are busily engineering addictive food products that turn ordinary people into obese slob ogres almost over night, I’ve got to think maybe obsessing about proper dieting isn’t such a bad thing after all.

A quick Google search of Orthorexia Nervosa will pull up a number of articles and blog posts suggesting that Orthorexia is a fad term created to sell books or that naming this condition is just another opportunity to classify differences as mental illness.

On the other hand, physicians including Bratman have been documenting field cases of this “health food disease.” A number of individuals have self diagnosed this condition, and family members on message boards post questions and concerns about eating patterns of loved ones that closely match the condition identified and named by Bratman.

Uh, Okay, but does that mean Orthorexia Nervosa is not “a fad term created to sell books” or an “opportunity to classify differences as mental illness”?