28 C
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID): Causes and Symptoms

- Advertisement -

Most of the time, children are picky eaters. Parents have to find tricky ways to get them to eat healthy or even to eat at all. However, when it comes to eating disorders, we have an entirely different issue on our hands.

- Advertisement -

Could you kid be dealing with ARFID? Let’s find out what ARFID is and all we need to know about it.

What is Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)?

ARFID is not one of the most popular eating disorders, but it is a type of eating disorder. Children who have been diagnosed with ARFID show a great preference for very few types of food and avoid eating any other foods.

Unlike the other eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, which has to do with a drive to lose weight or be thin, children who have ARFID deal with anxiety related to the food and unrelated to the sufferer’s body image.

Signs and symptoms of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)?

Many children of preschool-aged can be very picky eaters. Some of them may not eat foods that are green in color or foods that have a specific texture.

Typically, most kids will grow out of these habits or behaviors, but for kids who have Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), such actions persist, thus putting a limit to their nutrition and even harming their growth.

Children who have dealt with trauma or particular illness may suddenly show symptoms of ARFID or may develop it over time.

  • Having anxiety around foods in social situations
  • Avoiding situations that require them to eat
  • Sudden changes in eating habits
  • Growth challenges
  • Less than normal energy
  • Negotiating available food options
  • Suffering from nutrient deficiencies
  • Taking a long time to eat or finish a meal

Weight loss

- Advertisement -

While many children dealing with ARFID mostly become underweight, children who are of average weight and overweight may also deal with this condition.

How is Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder diagnosed?

ARFID can only be diagnosed after a thorough outpatient assessment by a good child and adolescent psychiatrist or by a clinical therapist.

The ARFID diagnosis assessment includes:

  • A medical and psychiatric history
  • Evaluation by speech therapy or occupational therapy, if applicable
  • Evaluation by a gastroenterologist, if required

If an ARFID program is recommended after the assessment, the intake coordinator will have to schedule a partial hospital admission date with the child’s family.

What are the possible causes of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder?

ARFID may have a variety of causes, and it sometimes starts in early childhood.

The causes of ARFID may include:

  • Food aversion or a complete lack of interest in eating food
  • Medical conditions that make a child become ill after eating
  • Previous trauma that involves food, such as an allergic reaction in the mouth, or choking
  • Sensory difficulties or disorders

All of these causes can make a child to feel anxious about eating food or food in general, especially if you try to make them eat foods they don’t typically eat.

How can Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder be treated?

- Advertisement -

Children who have ARFID benefit from a treatment plan specially designed for them. Your pediatrician or health care professional may have to draw up a treatment plan if the hospital doesn’t have a department for treating this condition.

At most hospitals with all already drawn up a plan, your child’s treatment will include the following:

  • Daily group therapy, which includes multi-family group
  • Art, music, or recreational therapy
  • Individual therapy, which involves play therapy based on the child’s age
  • Family therapy

Parent education

During treatment, your child will be slowly exposed to new healthy foods or “challenge” foods. The child will also be taught coping skills, introduced to motivators, and a few other behaviors that will help them increase the types and amount of food they consume.

As a parent, you will also have to learn strategies to assist your child in continuing their progress toward more natural and normalize eating at home. Many parents will eventually feel more confident in their parenting skills once they go through successful treatment with their children.

ARFID is an eating disorder that must be treated early so that a child doesn’t grow with it. Nevertheless, parents must try to understand why their child behaves a certain way towards a certain kind of food and pay attention to symptoms that might have accompanied the consumption of such foods in the past.

We hope that you found this article helpful.
Please leave a comment below.

- Advertisement -

Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

Trending Now

Enjoy Healthy Homemade Treats With Your Pet

A proper diet is important for both you and your furry friends, but healthy eating can be difficult to maintain. The trick is to...
- Advertisement -

Skin Rashes: Causes, Symptoms and Effective Home Remedies

Skin rashes are common skin problems experienced by millions of people worldwide; it is characterized by a visible change in the color...

Atis Fruit: 10 Health Benefits of Eating Sugar Apple

Sugar apple (Atis fruit), is the Annona squamosa fruit belonging to the natives of West Indies and to the tropical Americas like Peru, Mexico,...

Spider Bites: Symptoms, Treatment & Identification

Spider bites in the United States are often annoying but they are rarely fatal. If a person gets bitten by a black...

What Is Anomic Suicide?

In a family where kids are allowed to make decisions for themselves even before they become teenagers, there is bound to be...

Artemisia Annua: the Plant Behind Madagascar’s ‘COVID-organics’ Coronavirus Cure

Artemisia annua, also popularly known as sweet wormwood, sweet sagewort, sweet annie, annual wormwood, or annual mugwort, is a common type of wormwood that...

The Amazing Health Benefits of Uziza

We all know how essential salt is to our food and the role it plays in our health. But we can’t deny that salt...

Blue Waffle: Is It Really, Really an STD?

Remember the blue waffle tales and images which were spreading around on all social media platforms back in 2010? Well, if you were misfortunate...

How to Deal With a Jealous Sister-in-law?

Getting along with sisters-in-law or potential sisters-in-law could be very frustrating whether or not they had a very tight bond with their...



Nurture yourself with health tips, wellness advice, and more.

- Advertisement -

Related Posts

The Candida Diet – Benefits and How It Works

The most commonly known fungus in the human body is known as candida. It is often found in areas like the digestive tract, mouth,...

Is It Safe to Sleep With Earplugs?

For those of us who are easily irritated by loud noises ear plugs become useful for protecting our ears against such sounds however some...

Cyber Bullying and Your Child

Years ago parents had to worry about their kids getting bullied by other kids while they were at school, at the playground or outside...

LGBT: Things to Do if Your Child Is Experiencing Bullying in School

About fifty per cent of the LGBT people have reportedly been bullied in school because of their sexuality.What would you do as a parent in...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.