Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
What is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder? (ARFID)
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is characterized as:
- An eating or feeding disturbance (e.g., apparent lack of interest in eating or food; avoidance based on the sensory characteristics of food; concern about aversive consequences of eating) as manifested by persistent failure to meet appropriate nutritional and/or energy needs associated with one (or more) of the following:
- Significant weight loss (or failure to achieve expected weight gain or faltering growth in children).
- Significant nutritional deficiency.
- Dependence on enteral feeding or oral nutritional supplements.
- Marked interference with psychosocial functioning.
- The disturbance is not better explained by lack of available food or by an associated culturally sanctioned practice.
- The eating disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, and there is no evidence of a disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced.
- The eating disturbance is not attributable to a concurrent medical condition or not better explained by another mental disorder. When the eating disturbance occurs in the context of another condition or disorder, the severity of the eating disturbance exceeds that routinely associated with the condition or disorder and warrants additional clinical attention.
How is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) Treated?
Treatment approaches are developing in this area. The most up-to-date literature recommends cognitive and exposure-based interventions to help with food intolerance, food avoidance, and to modify beliefs that interfere with eating. Given that ARFID is commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents, we work closely with caregivers to provide education, support, and training in both the eating disorder and techniques to help with emotion regulation.
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