Many parents struggle to feed picky eaters and worry that choosing just a few of their favorite foods will not meet their child’s nutritional needs. For some children, an aversion to eating is not a normal part of the growing process but a sign of avoidant and restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), a type of eating disorder that can affect young children. There is a possibility.
Say “Likes and dislikes and ARFID are not the same thing” Dr. Kim Anderson, Clinical Psychologist and Executive Director of Pathrite Mood & Anxiety Center, said: “Fancy eating is a very normal thing children experience. They only like certain colors of food, or they only want certain shapes of food. They eat certain foods every day for a week. Eat and then refuse to eat again.” AFRID, on the other hand, is more serious. It’s “not a stage of development or a normal part. It’s not an extreme picky eater.” It’s an eating disorder that can be diagnosed and treated, explains Dr. Anderson.
Below you’ll find more information about ARFID, including causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Knowing how to spot the signs can be especially helpful in helping children get the care they need.
What is ARFID?
“ARFID is an eating disorder characterized by eating patterns that limit the quantity and variety of food,” says Dr. Anderson. “For people with ARFID, avoiding certain foods or restricting their intake has profound implications for medical, nutritional, and psychosocial outcomes.”
However, unlike other eating disorders, ARFID is characterized by food aversion, hypersensitivity, or negative experiences with food (choking, vomiting, allergic reactions, etc.). says Dr. Anderson.
Anyone can develop ARFID at any time in their life. However, little is known about her ARFID in adults, and there are no estimates of how common the condition is in older patients.
In children, estimates of prevalence vary, but a study conducted in Switzerland in 2015 found that 1,444 children between the ages of 8 and 13 years were screened and 3.2% were ‘self-assessed for ARFID at screening’. I have reported the characteristics.” Another study, published in the National Library of Medicine, points to overlap between ARFID diagnoses and other psychiatric disorders such as autism and anxiety disorders.
With ARFID, it’s important to know that symptoms begin at a younger age than eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, says Dr. Anderson. Also, if a child doesn’t get out of the “picky eater” stage by the age of 6 and continues to eat only a limited range of foods, there is a higher risk of developing ARFID as a child, she added.
What are the symptoms of ARFID?
Dr. Anderson says symptoms of ARFID typically include:
- dietary restrictions
- lack of interest in food
- Avoiding foods because they are chewy or hard
- refuse to try new foods
- food needs to be cooked in a certain way
- Afraid to eat for fear of possible allergic reactions, choking or vomiting
- extreme underweight or malnutrition
How is ARFID different from picky eaters?
Likes and dislikes are part of a child’s development process and usually do not put children at serious risk of being malnourished or underweight. ARFID, on the other hand, is not a normal developmental stage and is associated with “various emotional, behavioral and cognitive problems such as depressed mood, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, cognitive inflexibility and social isolation.” Dr. Anderson says it can cause
Furthermore, dietary restrictions may lead to interpersonal problems in ARFID patients. “As a result, social eating situations are often avoided.”
This leads to isolation and loneliness, hinders social development, and causes both children and adults to miss out on important experiences.
What should I do if I suspect my child has ARFID?
If your child or loved one is showing signs or symptoms of ARFID and you are concerned about their health, know that there are resources available to support you and your family. is important.
“The first step is to find a qualified professional who can assess your child’s behavior,” says Dr. Anderson. I can introduce you From there, your doctor will help create an “individualized treatment plan that meets the unique needs your child has regarding physical, emotional, and mental health.”
What are ARFID treatment options?
According to the Child Mind Institute, treatment depends on individual needs, especially since ARFID is a relatively new diagnosis and research on treatment is limited.
For underweight or malnourished children, gaining weight and maintaining a healthy body is likely to be most important, reports the Child Mind Institute, but cognitive therapy can help address sensory issues, fear of choking, and more. , dealing with anxiety is equally important. Learn to deal with their symptoms.
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