What is ARFID?
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), oftentimes characterized as “extreme picky eating,” is an eating disorder impacting thousands of individuals, particularly children. The meaning of “fear food” in clients with ARFID differs from clients with anorexia nervosa and bulimia. For individuals with ARFID the fear may stem from knowing they must eat, when they have no interest in eating, fearing the temperature might not be what they like, fear of choking or becoming sick or fear of eating a new food.
ARFID does not have one root cause; instead, researchers and clinicians have explored a variety of potential contributing factors, such as biological, psychosocial, and environmental influences.
- A child who is already predisposed to ARFID due to biological or genetic makeup may be triggered by environmental or psychosocial situations, such as a traumatic event.
- Since there can be disrupted eating patterns among other mental illnesses, co-occurring diagnoses – such as anxiety disorders, developmental disabilities, and autism may exacerbate – may also be present.
- In autism and other developmental disabilities, an individual’s relationship to their body and senses are already very heightened.
Treatment for ARFID
The good news is that recovery is possible! Treating Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder requires highly specialized care with an expert treatment team that is specifically-trained in this illness, as well as any co-occurring illnesses.
If you or a loved one is struggling, please reach out to us. Center for Discovery’s Treatment Centers specialize in treatment for eating disorders, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment with unique treatment programs for every individual to get them on their way to eating disorder recovery.
For more information, resources, or to consult with one of our specialists, call 866.482.3876.