July 3, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Arthrexia, an undiagnosed disorder close to anorexia

Arthrexia, an undiagnosed disorder close to anorexia

Spending more than an hour in front of a food aisle to read the composition of each product, chewing 50 times will give your brain the impression that you are eating more: orthorhexia, or developing a passion for healthy eating.

Currently, there is no scientific consensus on arthroxia. There are two most frequently supported positions in the classification between eating disorders (ED) or obsessive behavioral disorders.

Arthroxia, still under little research, can be detected by a ten-question test developed by an American physician, Steven Bratman, who named the disorder he suffered in 1995.

“If the patient has a distinction between healthy and unhealthy foods, if strong or unequal emotions occupy him with unhealthy foods and if it affects his daily life, he is probably suffering from arthroxia,” summarizes the French psychologist Alexander Chapi.

Anorexia nervosa has a “proximity” to anorexia, he assures, but there is a difference between the two: “The orthosis does not like to lose weight”, when this is the goal of the anorexic person.

“People with arthroxia underestimate the aesthetic body image, but see their body through the prism of their health,” dietitian Lawrence Myer analyzed.

Rather than wanting to be in good health, Alexandre Chapui explained that “they were afraid they would be poisoned by pesticides or food and die of cancer.”

They adopt strict diets, which are not problematic in themselves, “as long as we do not suffer from it, we do not isolate ourselves and health is not affected,” the psychologist emphasized.

For Lawrence Myer, however, people who follow certain diets are “more likely to develop an eating disorder” by eliminating certain types of food.

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She adds that “developing very harsh behaviors as an orthorhexic person can lead to social unrest” and can create “change” toward harmful obsessive behavior.

Consumer confidence has been severely eroded, especially due to various agro-food scandals, such as the recent contamination of chocolates or pizzas by bacteria.

Dietitian Lawrence Myer referred to the prevalence of this phenomenon “among athletes, health students, researchers or dieticians”. Still, there are no official statistics on the extent of this disorder in the world.