ARFID – Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

 ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder) is a type of eating disorder. Today, we’ll discuss what is ARFID; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is ARFID? 

ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder)is a type of eating disorder and it’s very close to anorexia nervosa. Both conditions comprise imposing high limitations on the type and amount of food you eat. The limited and restricted amount of preferred food you eat would result in the form of poor nutrition and poor growth of your body. Unlike anorexia nervosa; people with ARFID conditions don’t worry about body size, shape, and image.

Many kids would go through a period of picky eating. Many doctors sometimes call it a selective eating disorder, but ARFID is different. However, people with ARFID conditions don’t eat the sufficient amount of calories required for their bodies to function properly.

It results in the form of delayed weight gain and limited growth among children. ARFID condition among adults would not only cause dangerously weight loss, but it would also make their bodies incapable to perform the various routine function of daily routine life.

Symptoms of ARFID 

Physical Signs

Some of the main physical signs of ARFID condition are similar to anorexia nervosa, and they’re as follows;

  • Swollen feet
  • Cold feet and hand
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Weakened immune system
  • Muscular weakness
  • Thinning of hairs on the scalp
  • Dry nails, skin, and hairs
  • Cold feelings all the time
  • Fainting and dizziness
  • Slower heart rate
  • Lower thyroid level or iron
  • Difficulty in focusing and concentrating
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain and cramps
  • Abnormal menstrual period
  • Limited appetite
  • Losing weight severely

Behavioral/Psychological Symptoms

Some of the main behavioral and psychological symptoms are as follows;

  • Fearful of choking and vomiting
  • Find it difficult to eat in the company of others
  • Imposing drastic limitations on yourself in terms of the amount and type of food you eat
  • Wearing different layers of dress to either stay warm or to hide their weight loss

Causes of ARFID 

Researchers don’t know the exact cause of the ARFID condition. Some researchers think that people with this eating disorder condition are highly sensitive to the texture or taste. It would cause a negative experience with eating food like vomiting or choking, and it makes them anxious and fearful about the particular type of food. Some people that are vulnerable to developing this condition are as follows;

  • People with ADHD condition
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Kids that didn’t develop picky eating habits

Often children with ARFID condition have got anxiety disorder condition. They’re also at the risk of developing other psychological issues.

Diagnosis of ARFID

Your doctor would inquire about details about your eating habits in order to diagnose with ARFID condition. Some of the main questions they would ask are as follows;

  • The trouble with eating during the episode of bulimia or anorexia
  • Employing feeding tube
  • Using a plethora of nutritional supplements
  • Cautious about the things that would potentially happen to you while eating like choking
  • Ignoring a certain type of food based on the texture and how it smells and looks
  • Having a limited interest in eating

Your doctor would also check some other following factors;

  • Other mental health conditions or medical conditions that explain the problem you’re experiencing
  • Find it difficult to perform daily routine tasks
  • Malnutrition
  • Major weight gaining or losing weight to a great extent  

Treatment of ARFID 

A trained mental health professional specializing in eating disorders, a dietitian, and a doctor would treat the eating disorder condition. The treatment plan would comprise feeding therapy, medical care, and nutrition therapy. If choking is the main problem, then the speech-language pathologist would perform a feeding and swallowing evaluation on you. Some of the main objectives of the treatment plan would comprise of following;

  • Find ways to eat food without the fearful thoughts of choking or pain
  • Amplifying the variety of food that you eat
  • Developing and maintaining the pattern of healthy eating

In order to deal with anxiety and increase your appetite level, your therapist would prescribe you medication. You can treat kids with ARFID conditions at home, but some patients require the hospitalization of intense level.

People would need intense care in the hospital if they’re experiencing serious health issues, malnutrition, and severe weight loss. Some kids with the eating disorders condition would require nutritious formula or tube feeding in order to offer them vitamins and calories their body needs.

It is difficult to treat ARFID eating disorder condition, but addressing the fear factor and developing healthy eating habits would help teens and children to get better. When the whole family works together to alter the behavior of mealtime collectively, the child would follow the plan.

Conclusion: ARFID – Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder 

After an in-depth study of what is ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder); its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that the condition would badly impact your health. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should discuss it with the therapist and work on the treatment plan.