ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive food intake disorder, is less known among people. But this eating disorder goes beyond the normal eating habits. Unlike other eating disorders, like bulimia or anorexia nervosa, ARFID is featured by the quantity of food intake or various kinds of food. It leads to deficiency in nutritional deficiencies and affects your growth. Here, the vital role of eating disorder therapy comes. In this article, we are going to tell you about ARFID, its causes, treatment, prevention, and many more.

What is ARFID

ARFID is called avoidant/ restrictive food intake disorder. It is an eating disorder featured by eating habits or disturbed feed orders. It results in energy deficiencies or significant nutrition problems, and children are not able to gain weight.

The common feeding and eating challenges for people with ARFID include avoidance of specific types of food colors, textures, and smells, difficulty digesting food, eating food in an abnormal way, or a lack of appetite.

ARFID symptoms

Here is the common list of ARFID symptoms that helps you to understand whether you need the doctor's assistance immediately or not

  • Extreme difficulty in choosing the right food
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Social isolation
  • Not able to consume food without a feeding tube
  • For kids, it is a failure to gain weight, and for adults, they fail to lose weight.
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty in digesting different kinds of foods
  • Lack of appetite
  • Consuming small portions of food, etc

There is a need to get professional help immediately if you suffer from these symptoms.

Is ARFID referred to as mental illness?

ARFID refers to an eating disorder, so technically, it is also called mental illness. It occurs frequently with other conditions, like attention deficit, autism spectrum disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Cause of ARFID

According to researchers, the exact cause of ARFID is not determined. Some environmental, genetic, and social factors cause ARFID. These factors are

  • ARFID condition in the family
  • Have mental illness conditions, like anxiety, phobias, autism spectrum disorder, and disorder of development
  • ARFID also begins in childhood, typically between the ages of 5 and 13.

    As ARFID are diagnosed with eating disorders, researchers are currently studying what develops the ARFID condition in the human body.

Treatment of ARFID

You should seek treatment and make sure you recover on time after receiving an eating disorder counseling diagnosis of ARFID. Here are the following treatments of ARFID that improve this condition with time

  • Family Based Therapy

Family-based therapy is the best therapy that benefits teens. Family-based therapy involves parents who help their children establish healthy eating habits.

  • Nutritional guidance

It is suggested to consult a nutritionist because they help you to develop the right eating plan. Nutritional guidance helps you to get nutrients that you should eat and keep your health well.

  • Cognitive based therapy

Another psychotherapy treatment for ARFID is called cognitive-based therapy. It helps you to recognize and change harmful behavior and thoughts regarding your eating habits.

How to prevent ARFID

Prevention of ARFID involves the various aspects to be considered to promote healthy food habits and prevent sensitivities.

  • Positive mealtime environment

It is suggested to adopt a relaxed and positive atmosphere during your meal time. You must avoid forcing or pressuring your kids to eat specific foods because it causes anxiety. Rather than that, you should make your mealtime enjoyable and allow kids to learn healthy food habits at their own pace.

  • Model healthy eating behavior

Children often copy the eating habits of adults. But it is not good. The eating habits of kids and adults must be different. You should demonstrate their food choice and teach them the importance of trying new kinds of food.

  • Early exposure to diverse foods

It is suggested to encourage your children to explore a variety of foods in life. In this, it is good to introduce the various flavors, textures and smells to expand the palate and reduce the risk of developing ARFID

  • Address sensitivities and anxiety.

It is important to stay aware of signs of anxiety or sensitivities related to your food. If your child shows aversions, you should consult with a doctor early. You should ensure early intervention, including counseling, exposure therapy, etc. It helps you to address the anxiety early and prevent the growth of food disorders.


ARFID is referred to a complex eating disorder that affects the quality of your life. It is important to identify the early symptoms of ARFID and get professional help on time. With the prevention and the right eating disorder therapy, you can easily adopt healthy eating habits and improve the quality of your life. It leads to awareness among people and helps people to access better treatment plans and expand their food options.