It’s normal for kids to be picky about what they want to eat. But, what happens if this picky eating goes on throughout all of childhood, adolescence, and even follows a person into adulthood? Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder which is characterized by picky eating behaviors like these. And, can lead to a number of negative consequences. For individuals struggling with this disorder, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and get help before the consequences of these eating behaviors lead to severe outcomes.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) classifies Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder as an eating disorder diagnosis. It’s characterized by avoidant eating behaviors which are not stimulated by anxiety over body image, weight, and size. This is what makes ARFID different than other eating disorders that involve similar avoidant behaviors like bulimia and anorexia. Individuals diagnosed with this disorder may avoid eating food because they don’t wish to eat, have had a bad experience with certain foods, or don’t like food based on characteristics (taste, smell, texture). Frequently, ARFID begins at an early age, but it wasn’t until recent years that it was determined to follow individuals into adulthood.
A person with ARFID does not consume enough calories to maintain proper nutrition. As a result, individuals struggling with ARFID may be subject to a number of symptoms including:
Some other important characteristics of ARFID to note include:
Certain individuals may be at a higher risk for developing ARFID. Some risk factors for this type of eating disorder may include:
If you think your child may be struggling with an eating disorder, and you want to identify which eating disorder she may be dealing with, there are some things you can look for. Often, identifying these signs can help to prompt parents to seek the help their children need. Some signs of ARFID can include:
If you think a loved one is struggling with Avoidant RestrictiveFood Intake Disorder, help is available at Willow Place for Women. Here, we teach women how to get past fears surrounding food. And, establish healthy mindsets to incorporate a life of health and wellbeing. We also provide the needed tools to continue a life of healthy living once treatment concludes.
If you wish to speak with us about how we can help, call us today to speak confidentially with one of our experienced representatives at 1-888-651-4212.