I have an eating disorder which is referred to as ARFID, which stands for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. When I was a child and growing up I was always called a picky eater. I am often repulsed by food, even sometimes feeling sick to my tummy just looking at it. I often have difficulty eating 2 meals a day. Now that I am soon to be 63, it is difficult to change a lifelong behavior. I need to because it is causing me to have health problems which cannot be handled normally. I have diabetes caused from starving myself for so many years, and now my body produces bad things due to it. I overproduce insulin and now am trying to change and must take medications to try to stop the overproduction. I cannot use insulin or it would kill me. I must get the eating problem in order before I can heal. Most people do not even understand and think it should be very easy to overcome--just eat. It is not easy. Not very many have this and I have only met one young girl who still struggles. I wonder if anyone else out there has this problem. I am working to overcome this. Here is the information from the professionals:
For the first time, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th edition (DSM-5) includes Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) as a diagnosis. To get the diagnosis, a child or adult must have a lack of interest in eating or food, worry about the negative consequences of eating (e.g., feeling uncomfortable or bloated), or avoid food because of sensory issues (e.g., how it looks, tastes, or feels).
But the ARFID diagnosis also requires that picky eating interferes with an individual’s nutritional needs. For example, it could cause significant weight loss or lead to a child not growing and developing in the way that we would expect. It could also cause significant nutritional deficiencies like anemia and a dependence on nutritional supplements such as vitamins and liquid meals. In addition, it also could cause problems in one’s social life, such as not being able to go out to dinner with friends or requiring others to go to extremes to cater to likes and dislikes. It’s important to distinguish ARFID from other eating disorders. We have a lot to learn about how and when ARFID develops, how ARFID is related to other eating disorders, and which kids and adults are at risk for struggling with extremely picky eating. Although treatment approaches for children and adults with ARFID have already started, many clinicians will need training on the best ways to detect and treat ARFID.Although ARFID is kind of unwieldy to say and in truth the behaviors associated with the diagnosis aren’t “new”, having ARFID in the DSM-5 means that children and adults deal with negative nutritional and social consequences of limiting their food intake.
An individual struggling with this disorder would experience eating disturbances that would inhibit the individual from meeting their nutritional and/or energy needs. This disorder can apply to both men and women the same.
The possible Effects of Avoidant Food Intake Disorder:
- May experience significant weight loss
- Inability to maintain a person’s weight
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Dependence of supplements
- Issues with daily functioning
- Experience health complications