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Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Faith Carlson Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, QMHP

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder or ARFID is a new name for what therapists have previously identified as Selective Eating Disorder. ARFID is an eating disorder that presents similarly to anorexia with restrictive eating, however, ARFID symptoms will not include a distressing focus on weight, body image or size. Individuals that have a food aversion will have limited caloric consumption which can develop the risk of caloric deficiency resulting in failure to maintain healthy weight. The caloric deficiency can cause problems growing, body development, and become so restrictive that food choices are often limited to very few selections of choice. Many food groups are eliminated as an option to consume due to the aversion of eating foods. Individuals struggling with ARFID can have difficulties eating in social settings, often times face increased isolation, and avoid environments that involve food due to the length of time it can take to eat foods outside of the few selected choices.

When the relationship with food becomes overwhelming, avoidant, and distressing we know we are working with some form of disordered eating. Individuals on the autism spectrum can have higher risks of an ARFID diagnosis along with individuals diagnosed with ADHD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be an intervention used to treat ARFID and support clients. By expanding food choices, challenging anxiety and distress around meal time experiences, and increasing confidence and self-esteem, we can increase food flexibility. If you are someone you know is seeking recovery from an eating disorder call our office today at 605-271-3441.

Clinicians with Renew Counseling Services can offer telehealth therapy, as well as completing treatment needs assessments, individual sessions, couples or family counseling. Feel free to give us a call for a free consultation to examine if our services could be right for you.