Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is characterized by a disturbance in eating or feeding behaviors that results in significant weight loss, nutritional deficiency, or difficulty maintaining a normal day-to-day life. ARFID was previously known as selective eating disorder (SED) but was renamed to more accurately encompass the disorder.
ARFID can affect individuals of any age, race, gender, or any other demographic categorization. ARFID often co-occurs with other mental health diagnoses such as anxiety disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like any other eating disorder, ARFID is not a choice and is considered to be a severe illness that requires professional treatment. It is also important to note that ARFID does not stem from a lack of access to food and is not related to an individual’s cultural upbringing.
What makes ARFID different from anorexia?
ARFID is often confused with anorexia due to the weight loss associated with the illness and the pattern of restrictive eating. However, those suffering from ARFID do not share the same desire for thinness or body dysmorphic thoughts that those with anorexia experience. To note this difference, someone with ARFID may abstain from eating due to tastes and textures of foods being intolerable as opposed to someone with anorexia who may abstain from eating due to a desire to lose weight and alter their body shape.