Have you encountered someone who only eats a
Many of us have heard of Anorexia or Bulimia, and possibly Binge Eating Disorder. However, there are many disorders that fall below the diagnostic threshold for Anorexia and Bulimia. These are known as Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Previously this was known as Selective eating disorder (SED). People with ARFID will only eat foods that they find acceptable. This may be based on perceived safety, taste, texture, color, or a memory of some previous bad experience connected with the food.
Although people with ARFID may exclude a whole range of food types, they usually maintain a typical bodyweight. If encouraged to eat foods in the group connected with their ARFID, they may become distressed.
What are the causes of ARFID?
Often there is some sort of Trauma at the root of the condition. They may have choked on a particular food in the past or have seen something that made them see the food as dangerous.
Distressing events in childhood, such as parents divorcing or a house move may trigger a mechanism where selective eating is associated with taking back control.
Treatment of ARFID
ARFID symptoms can, in some cases gradually reduce and disappear without intervention. However, most cases will be treated by Cognitive Behavior Therapy. There are also ARFID support groups.
Children may undergo a program based on Systematic Desensitization. The four-stage program are
- Record: Children keep a log of eating behaviors
- Reward: Children make a list of foods they might like to try someday.
- Relax: Children learn to reduce anxiety and relax.
- Review: It is important to review any progress that is made.