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Common Signs of ARFID

ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) is a relatively new diagnosis in the field of eating disorders that has been getting a lot of attention.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder is often characterized as "extreme picky eating" and affects thousands of people, especially children. In ARFID, the concept of "fear food" differs from that in clients with anorexia nervosa and bulimia. People with ARFID may experience fear related to eating because they lack interest in food, worry about the food's temperature, fear choking or getting sick, or feel anxious about trying new foods. It is characterized by persistent avoidance or restriction of food intake which may lead to weight loss and nutritional deficiencies, that can affect daily life. 

Here are some common signs of ARFID.

  1. Lack of Interest in Food / Poor Appetite

    1. ARFID does not include a focus on body image or body dysphoria. Instead, in cases of ARFID, people experience not wanting to eat due to having a massive disinterest in food. Eating may feel like a chore, even if they are hungry.

  2. Finding Food Overstimulating

    1. Another reason a person may not eat is because the experience of eating and/or food is too stimulating. This could include the texture, taste, smell, and so forth of the food(s).

  3. Concerning Picky Eating

    1. This can relate to points 2 and 4. However, this is one of the biggest signs of ARFID where an individual may be a picky eater to the severity that it is negatively impacting their health.

  4. Fear of Having a Bad Experience with Food

    1. The impact of events can affect everyone differently. Some people may develop a fear of eating after having a bad experience with food such as choking, vomiting, and/or having an allergic reaction.

  5. Malnutrition

    1. All in all, many of these symptoms can happen to everyone. It becomes a major concern when these reactions to food, or disinterest in eating, begin to negatively impact a person's health and development. ARFID is often seen in children, and they get enough nutrients

    2. for their development. In some cases of ARFID, an individual may need nutrient assistance via supplements or nutrition support.

Overcome ARFID with Treatment

If you or somebody that you love is experiencing ARFID or ARFID tendencies, we have passionate dietitians who can help in these areas! Treatment is tailored to the individual's needs, however, the primary goal with ARFID patients is to continue to work on increasing the variety of foods that feel safe to the patient to increase their overall intake, improve nutritional deficiency, and ensure proper growth/maintenance of an appropriate weight.


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