London, Oct 21 : Being environmentally aware is one thing, and being obsessed with it, is another, say US psychiatrists, who warn that extreme environmental awareness may be creating a generation of "carborexics".
In a new survey, it was found that seven per cent of Americans come into the category of "dark green"- hard core recyclers and carbon footprint worriers.
However, scientists claim that there is a thin line between these behavioural traits qualifying for eco-leadership or bordering on the obsessive-compulsive.
A report in the New York Times detailed all manner of lifestyles that might be considered carborexic.
Dark green activities in the US include running cars on waste vegetable oil and using one's lawn as a bathroom to save water.
In fact there are many people who sleep together just to reduce heating bills.
One couple in Seattle actually reuses the same Ziploc bag for a year.
However, such instances have led mental health experts to worry.
"If you can't have something in your house that isn't green or organic... if you're criticising friends because they're not living up to your standards of green, that's a problem," The Telegraph quoted Elizabeth Carl, a psychologist and specialist in obsessive-compulsive disorders, as saying.
According to Dr Jack Hirschowitz, a New York psychiatrist, such behaviour can only be called a disorder if it was undermining everything else in the subject's life.
David Zucker, a sustainability specialist at Porter Novelli, a PR company which has studied America's "dark greens", said they were inordinately influential over other people's behaviour.
He said that the "deepest dark greens" were "bordering on the fanatic."
He added: "They're pushing towards a lifestyle of zero consumption. You know Americans. We take everything to an extreme."