Understanding Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a form of eating disorder which was earlier known as selective eating disorder. It is different from picky eating.
Even though many kids go through phases of being “picky eaters,” someone with ARFID may not consume enough calories to develop normally, resulting in delayed weight gain and vertical growth. Young who use ARFID may lose weight and lose the capacity to keep up with routine bodily processes.
However, because of the kinds of foods that are ingested, around half of those who have ARFID are at or above Expected Body Weight (EBW), depending on how the illness manifests itself in a particular person. I
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ARFID and anorexia can be comparable in that both conditions can indicate that the body is not getting the nutrition it requires, which can have major medical repercussions. ARFID, on the other hand, does not include any concern over size or shape of the body.
Instead, many who experience it worry that they must eat even when they are not particularly hungry, that the temperature might not be what they prefer, that they will choke or get sick, or that they would be afraid to try a new dish.
What is avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder?
ARFID is a disorder which is added to American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the year 2013 is a new disorder. This disorder is not connected to body weight or body image and according to researchers it occurs for a long period of time and more in males.
Doctors identify an eating disorder, which may be ARFID, when a child’s eating behaviour turns into a general lack of interest in eating and begins to affect their growth and development.Being a picky eater and having ARFID are two different things because children with ARFID:
- Consume insufficient calories
- Stop weight increase
- Stop weight increase
Signs and symptoms of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
- There is a reasonable weight loss
- Dressing up in layers so asthe person may stay warm or they may hide their weight loss
- Some digestive issues like constipation
- Limiting the varieties or serving sizes of food
- Consuming foods that is having aspecific texture
- There is a feeling of sickness or feeling full around mealtimes
- Feeling very cold
- Either there is lack of energy or excessive energy
- Fear of vomiting
- Stomach discomfort
- There is a history of choking or vomiting or there could be a fear of choking or vomiting.
- Acid reflux
Some possible health complications of ARFID
- Constipation and heartburn
- Either you Missed your periods
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Low iron
- Low thyroid hormone levels
- Low potassium
- Low blood cell counts
- Low heart rate
- Constantly feeling cold
- Sleeping issues
- Dry skin and nails
- Brittle nails
- Some hairs on the body
- Hair thinning
- Dry and brittle hair
- Muscle weakness
- Poor healing of wounds
- Decreased immune function
Risk factors for developing ARFID
Because ARFID is a recently identified illness, professionals know less about it than they do about other eating disorders. Mental health professionals have identified some probable risk factors for ARFID, including physiological, genetic, environmental, and temperamental aspects.
It appears that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and intellectual disabilities are more prone to develop ARFID.
There are some further study which is required in the area. Researchers have said that children who have ARFID might also have anxiety and are more prone to psychiatric disorders.
Treatment for ARFID
The DSM-5 merely provided a clinical definition for ARFID, thus medical professionals have not yet developed recommendations for its care.However, they do acknowledge that those who suffer from eating disorders like ARFID need the assistance and knowledge of a qualified dietitian nutritionist.
Some other health care providers who can help with the symptoms of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) are as follows:
- Occupational therapists
- Developmental paediatricians
- Adolescent health physicians
The severity of the condition and its effects on the person’s physique and general health heavily influence the course of treatment. When there is severe malnutrition and nutritional deficiency, hospitalisation may be necessary.
Compared to other eating disorders, ARFID interventions are more customised and exposure-based (e.g., desensitisation).
Some advice for caregivers
- Take meals and snacks on regular intervals
- Maintain consistency in your eating habits
- Eat a wide selection of different foods as an example.
- Use anxiety/stress-reduction strategies around mealtimes, such as deep breathing, music, and dance.
- Give your child a voice and involve them in making food-related decisions.
- Don’t force your child to eat; instead, encourage them to try different things. This may take the form of letting the youngster plate some unfamiliar food, despite their reluctance to do so.
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