Friday, July 10, 2015


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


  1. That was very instructive to read. I've suffered from eating disorders and I know how difficult it is to control. I belive this is what you should aim at: conrolling it rather than overcome it, as it is nearly impossible. It has left me with a couple pf health problems like constant anemia and lack of vitamins, but I'm getting better and I hope you will too.

  2. I'm so sorry, Rose. How hard for you. And how annoying it's going to be to have to enlighten the ignorant Every Time it comes up. I bet there's an online support group. If there isn't perhaps you could start one. Good luck with this, dear heart. Wish I knew some way to help. Please tell me if there is anything I can do. (Maybe I should stop bringing those liverwurst and limburger sandwiches to Chrysalis?) (That was an attempt at humor.)

  3. Hi Rose, I am so sorry you struggle with this disorder and I will send up prayers you can conquer this or be in control over it and have better days ahead.
    Thank you for sharing this info. and the health risks it carries. One day at a time for recovery. Wishing you all the best.

  4. Wow Rose, So sorry to hear this. Hope you can get it under control. Prayers going out for you. Liz

  5. I have heard of something similar--Orthorexia--it's people trying to eat so "pure" that pretty soon, all food becomes repulsive. I think the consequences are similar -- a lack of nutrition and nourishment. Maybe taking photos at a farmers market would be step toward embracing food again? I'm not sure, but I am sure your ability to see beauty the way you do means you'll find a way to vibrant health again.

  6. I'm sorry to hear of the years of suffering you've had as a result of this eating disorder. I trust you're able to get the help you need...things like this can be very complicated, I'm sure.
    Mary Alice