Is ARFID an eating disorder?
People who experience difficulties eating, which are not related to body image concerns, can be supported to improve their eating. ARFID is a diagnosis that can be made for someone with such eating challenges and this diagnosis helps guide such people into the appropriate support for their eating disorder. ARFID is the acronym which stands for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and can take on several froms as described here:
1) People who suffer from ARFID may find that new foods have strange or intense tastes, textures or smells and they feel safer eating foods they know well.
2) Others with ARFID have had scary experiences with food like vomiting, choking or allergic reaction, so they may insistently avoid the foods that made them feel this way, and limit themselves to safe foods.
3) Whilst others with ARFID don't feel hungry very often, they find that eating is a chore, are disinterested in food, or get full very quickly, so end up skipping meals and eating inadequately.
People with ARFID can fall into one, two or three of these concerns. In any case, there is often a strong influence of overwhelming anxiety, which can have significant consequences for one's food variety and eating adequacy. Low body weight, nutrient deficiencies, lethargy, and interference with psychological and social functioning can all be common outcomes for people with ARFID. Despite these significant impairments, treatment of ARFID is possible and involves carefully guided food exposures, with concurrent anxiety management and strategic nutritional rehabilitation.
If you are concerned about how ARFID might be affecting you, contact us for more information.