What is ARFID? Eating disorder explained, disease signs

The condition can negatively affect a person’s physical and mental health, but help is available

Anyone can get one eating disorderbut teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 are said to be the most affected NHS.

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The good news is that most people can recover from one with treatment eating disorder.

The most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), but there is also a less common type called ARFID.

ARFID, which stands for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, is a condition characterized by the person avoiding certain foods or types of foods, having a restricted intake in terms of the total amount eaten, or both.

So what exactly is ARFID, what are the signs to look out for, how is it treated and what should you do if you think you or someone you know has it?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What does ARFID mean?

ARFID stands for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.

What is ARFID Eating Disorder?

ARFID is a condition characterized by the person avoiding certain foods or types of foods, having a restricted intake in terms of the total amount eaten, or both.

Why do people have ARFID?

People can develop AFRID for a number of reasons, but three reasons are the most common, according to eating disorder charity Beat and the NHS.

  • They may be very sensitive to the taste, texture, smell, or appearance of certain types of food, or only eat food at a certain temperature. This can lead to sensory decisions about food intake.
  • You may have had a distressing experience with food, such as choking or vomiting, or significant abdominal pain. This can cause the person to develop feelings of anxiety and fear related to eating or food.
  • In some cases, the person may not realize they are hungry like others would, or they may have a poor appetite in general. For them, eating seems to be a chore and this could make them struggle to eat enough.

One or more of these reasons can contribute to a person developing AFRID, so the condition may present differently from person to person.

However, all those affected share the same result; avoiding or restricting food intake in terms of total quantity, choice of food eaten, or both.

Unlike other eating disorders, beliefs about weight or body shape are not reasons people develop ARFID.

What are the signs of ARFID?

Because ARFID is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of different types of feeding difficulties, there are a wide variety of possible signs and symptoms.

According to Beat, possible signs of ARFID include:

  • Eat a reasonable variety of foods, but overall eat far less than is necessary to stay healthy.
  • It’s difficult to tell when you’re hungry.
  • Fullness after just a few bites and difficulty eating more.
  • Take a long time for meals and find eating a chore.
  • Complete absence of meals, especially when busy with something else.
  • Sensitivity to aspects of some foods, such as B. texture, smell or temperature.
  • Seems to be a picky eater.
  • Always the same meals.
  • Always eat something different than everyone else.
  • Only eat foods that are similar in color.
  • Trying to avoid social gatherings where food would be available.
  • Being very anxious at meals, chewing food very carefully and taking small sips and bites.
  • Weight loss (or, in children, weight gain not as expected).
  • Develop nutritional deficiencies, such as anemia, from lack of certain nutrients in the diet.
  • You must take supplements to ensure nutritional and energy needs are met.

Not all of these symptoms would necessarily occur in an individual, nor are they necessarily indicative of someone having ARFID.

What are the potential effects of ARFID on a person?

ARFID can adversely affect a person’s overall physical health as well as their mental well-being.

If a person is not getting enough energy from the food they eat, they are likely to lose weight.

When children and adolescents do not gain weight as expected, their growth can be affected.

A narrow or restricted diet can also result in a person not getting all of the essential nutrients needed for their health, development, and overall functioning in everyday life.

Their limited diet also often causes people to experience significant difficulties at home, at school or university, at work, and when meeting friends, as their mood and daily routines can be negatively affected.

Many people with ARFID find it difficult to go out and socialize or go on vacations because of their negative relationship with food.

They may find it difficult to make new friends or form close relationships, as social dining is often the focus.

How is ARFID treated?

Treatment for ARFID is usually best tailored to the person’s needs based on the specific type of difficulties the person is experiencing and the effect they are having on them.

Some ARFID sufferers also have various nutritional deficiencies, and in some people this may mean that treatment is needed.

Dietary supplements may be prescribed to people whose food intake is very restricted.

In some more extreme cases, tube feeding may be recommended for a person when their food intake is extremely limited, their weight and nutritional level are low, and the physical risk is considered high by medical professionals.

The course of treatment recommended by healthcare professionals may depend on the age of the person with ARFID.

Young people may be treated by their local child and adolescent eating disorder service, general child and adolescent psychiatric services (CAMHS), community pediatric services, or by a range of private practitioners, including dieticians and psychologists.

Adults can be treated by specialist eating disorder services and general mental health services, or by general practitioners.

What should I do if I think I or someone I know may have ARFID?

If you think you may have ARFID you should make an appointment to discuss it with your GP.

If you are concerned that a loved one has ARFID, you should speak to them to encourage them to seek the right help and support. They might suggest they visit their GP and offer to accompany them for support.

You can also speak confidentially to a Beat advisor by calling the adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or the youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

These free, confidential helplines are open 365 days a year, Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm and Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 4pm to 8pm.

You can also join a charity Online Support Groupsthat are anonymous and offer the opportunity to talk to people who are having similar experiences.

https://www.nationalworld.com/health/arfid-eating-disorder-signs-treatment-nhs-charity-3726362 What is ARFID? Eating disorder explained, disease signs

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