Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) vs Picky Eating  

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is a diagnosis that is just newly added in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a feeding and eating disorder. 

AFRID is described as the avoidance or restriction of eating food. There are many who call children picky eaters but avoidant restrictive food intake disorder  is a lot more serious. 

It is a new term, but not a new condition. ARFID can be diagnosed at any age. 

To assess a child for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, a parent would need a professional to evaluate a child's eating, weight and body mass index. 

child with sensory processing disorder wont eat her food Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) vs Picky Eating

They will also checking for any nutritional deficiencies too. Diagnosis may also require ruling out other conditions that may be affecting the child's eating.

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is treated  to help the child overcome their aversions to foods. Children can develop healthier eating and thinking about food. 

Nutritional counselling and cognitive behavioral therapy is used sometimes to help individuals with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder to change their thoughts related to food and eating. 

It is a common misconception that avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder is just a child who struggles with some picky eating but ARFID is much more serious. AFRID are fears or avoiding certain foods because of sensory sensitivity or the child has had a traumatic food experience. 

It is estimated that 
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder affects about 5% of the population. It can occur in people of all ages, but it's commonly diagnosed in children. ARFID can also continue for adults too. 

child who has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder ((ARFID) looking sad and wont eat his food Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder ((ARFID) symptoms checklist
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder ((ARFID)

Not the same as picky eating

Food fears such as getting sick or choking

Anxiety trying new foods. Lack of interest in food

Eating foods the same color

Sensitive to temperature, textures and food smells

Losing significant amount of weight

Feeling sick before meals and limited food intake

Early symptoms that parents may notice with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder are limited or restricted food intake, struggles to eat in different situations, sensitive to some food  textures or colors of food, and weight loss and growth delays. 

Children who struggle with 
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder may have other conditions too like sensory processing disorder, autism, or anxiety. Children with ARFID may have a sensitivity to different sensory input like food texture, the smell of different foods or the taste of some food. This can make it quite difficult for them to eat a lot of different food.

ARFID can be very serious. If you have concerns that your child is struggling with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder please always bring your concerns to medical professionals who work with your child. 

Here are some more helpful Sensory Processing Disorder Resources

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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