By Megan Samuels, MSW, LMSW, Outreach Coordinator
ARFID stands for avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. This is a common eating disorder that can often be under-diagnosed, or just labeled as “picky eating.” ARFID has not always been recognized as a disorder, but was added to the DSM-5, which is the fifth edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.
According to the DSM-5, a diagnosis of ARFID is met with all of the following:
A. 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:
C. 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.
D. The eating disturbance is not attributable to a concurrent medical condition or not better explained by another mental disorder. Additionally, 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.
ARFID stands out from the other eating disorders as it includes a lack of interest or avoidance because of sensory or aversive consequences, as opposed to a desire to change the way that one looks.
Some warning signs for ARFID may include (but are not limited to):
What does recovery from ARFID look like?
Typically, recovery from ARFID includes getting a therapist, dietitian, and doctor on board. The therapist can treat the eating disorder, do food exposures, and any other symptoms, including anxiety or depression. A dietitian can make sure that you are getting enough nutrition and food, along with facilitating food and meal exposures. A doctor can regularly assess to make sure that lab work is normal and that the body is getting enough nutrition.
Full recovery from ARFID is possible! If you or a loved one may be struggling with ARFID, we can help! The Eating Disorder Center has therapists and recovery coaches who are trained in treating ARFID, among other eating disorders. Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
*Disclaimer: The information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for your independent medical decision-making nor a recommendation or endorsement for any particular treatment plan, organization, provider, professional service, or product.
Schedule a free 15 min consult for eating disorder therapy in MD, VA, DC, NY, FL, or recovery coaching worldwide.
The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center founded by Jennifer Rollin. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED, and body image issues. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We also provide eating disorder therapy in Arlington, Virginia and virtually throughout Virginia. Additionally, we offer eating disorder therapy virtually in New York (NYC), Florida, and California. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.