Orthorexia is not diagnostically recognized as its own diagnosis in the DSM IVtr. However, in my 28 year of clinical experience, I understand it as a subset of Anorexia Nervosa. This is my professional opinion. The underlying dynamics are quite similar to what we have seen in anorexia for years. It's only in the recent years as our society has focused on pure, organic, and raw foods has this new obessive compulsive form of restriction emerged and is has now been coined orthorexia. The medical and social differences of this subset of anorexia would be reflected in the specific obsessive compulsive behaviors and thoughts that would support this form of restriction.
To learn more about anorexia, visit the bella vita website.
Dr Patricia Pitts, PhD
The Bella Vita Eating Disorders Treatment Programs
Los Angeles, CA
Hello! I do think they are separate diseases. I am not sure that orthorexia is commonly diagnosed though. I do not hear of many people who are diagnosed with this disorder, but I tend to hear of people being diagnosed EDNOS who may have symptoms that are similar to orthorexia. So it's not to say that people do not have this problem, but I just don't think it's one that is recognized and diagnosed as that. This is more my opinion, and based on what I've observed. You'd probably have to look it up in order to get a straightforward answer of the medical and social differences between the two. If you need help in that way, I'm sure I could lead you in the right direction. Good luck!