Posts Tagged ‘ARFID’

What is ARFID?

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Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is characterized by a disturbance in eating or feeding behaviors that results in significant weight loss, nutritional deficiency, or difficulty maintaining a normal day-to-day life. ARFID was previously known as selective eating disorder (SED) but was renamed to more accurately encompass the disorder.

ARFID can affect individuals of any age, race, gender, or any other demographic categorization. ARFID often co-occurs with other mental health diagnoses such as anxiety disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like any other eating disorder, ARFID is not a choice and is considered to be a severe illness that requires professional treatment. It is also important to note that ARFID does not stem from a lack of access to food and is not related to an individual’s cultural upbringing.

What Makes ARFID Different From Anorexia?

ARFID is often confused with anorexia due to the weight loss associated with the illness and the pattern of restrictive eating. However, those suffering from ARFID do not share the same desire for thinness or body dysmorphic thoughts that those with anorexia experience. To note this difference, someone with ARFID may abstain from eating due to tastes and textures of foods being intolerable as opposed to someone with anorexia who may abstain from eating due to a desire to lose weight and alter their body shape.

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Why Eating Disorders are Serious

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Eating disorders are biologically based mental illnesses that are influenced by an individual’s environment, society, and psychological makeup. An eating disorder is an illness that causes an individual to experience disturbances in their eating habits and negative food or body-related thoughts and feelings. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) recognizes five kinds of eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is characterized by extended and extreme food restriction and malnourishment that causes dramatic and sustained weight loss. Anorexia often presents with a fear of gaining weight and other body image issues.

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). ARFID is a feeding or eating disorder typically driven by fear, a lack of interest in food, or an avoidance of certain foods, resulting in continued failure to meet an individual’s nutritional needs. ARFID often presents without a drive for thinness.

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