Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
What is ARFID?
ARFID is a relatively new eating disorder diagnosis referenced in the DSM-5.
Previously coined “Selective Eating”, it involves limitations and/or restrictions around food, particularly around the intake of certain types of food or certain amounts.
Unlike other eating disorder diagnoses (like Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder) it doesn’t typically involve distress around body image or a pursuit of thinness.
Rather, ARFID typically involves avoidance of certain foods often due to a sensitivity in taste, texture, smell, appearance or temperature.
Whilst there’s no single cause, it may be that someone had a distressing experience whilst eating food – such as choking or vomiting – that harmed their relationship to food. It is also common for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder to be diagnosed with ARFID due to sensory sensitivity.
ARFID can severely impact someone’s physical and mental health
Someone suffering with ARFID may struggle with socialising and eating around others, and suffer from serious nutritional deficiencies, weight loss in adults and stunted growth in children.
Do these feel familiar?
There is no ‘one way’ to have ARFID, but there are common behavioural patterns and emotional and cognitive characteristics that help in diagnosing the illness.
Avoiding particular types of food
Not eating enough food to be nutritionally healthy and satisfied
Displaying a lack of interest in food or lack of appetite – sometimes missing meals altogether when distracted
Taking a long time over mealtimes
Only eating certain textures of food and maintaining a limited range of options
Anxious around mealtimes
Avoiding eating in social scenarios
Fears choking or vomiting
Stunted growth in children
Developing nutritional deficiencies
Recovery from ARFID is possible.
Like with other eating disorder diagnoses, we believe that recovery from ARFID is possible and that treatment should heal the individual as a whole; embracing their complexity and unique history.
Your journey with Orri.
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