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Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

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what is avoidant restrictive disorder

What is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder?

Previously reserved for children, Avoidant / Restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is characterized by eating disruptions caused by distaste for texture, smells, tastes or a lack of interest. This can cause a person to prevent necessary caloric intake, weight loss and struggles with social functioning. ARFID has unique diagnostic criteria which sets it apart from hyperfixation on body image, but poses just as serious risks. This disorder commonly co-occurs with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and involves sensory sensitivities and high anxiety.
These are just four of the commonly known eating disorders, but other disorders such as purging disorder, PICA, and night eating syndrome also fall on the eating disorder spectrum. In addition, “other specified feeding or eating disorder” can account for other eating and feeding symptoms that cannot be categorized by known disorders.

About Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Symptoms can widely range, some of the more common can include:

  • Inability to eat certain types or textures of food.
  • Aversion to foods with a certain color, smell, or taste.
  • A lack of interest in food.
  • Fears of choking, vomiting, nausea, or food poisoning.
  • A lack of energy due to poor nutrition.
  • Gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pain or constipation.
  • Anxiety around mealtimes.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing food.
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The road to lifelong recovery starts in a safe and secure environment with trained professionals who will teach life skills and coping tools to begin a meaningful journey to recovery.

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Treatment in a structured 24-hour medical or psychiatric inpatient unit. Medical management and intensive treatment of physically harmful eating disorder behaviors, medical complications, and co-occurring disorders, along with a focus on weight restoration.

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Partial Hospitalization

Treatment typically occurs five days a week for six to eight hours each day. Client remains medically stable but requires more intensive, structured programming to reduce eating disorder behaviors.

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Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Care (OP & IOP)

Lives at home or in a structured living environment with continued participation in group therapy sessions, individualized therapy sessions, educational programs on mental health, addiction, nutrition, and more.

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Eating Disorders Treatment Modalities

Therapy, psychiatry, and group support are important in a well-rounded eating disorder treatment program. The following services are provided:

Group and Individual Therapies
Nutritional Assessment and Consultation
Psychiatric Evaluation and Medication Prescription and Management
Psychoeducation; Educate and Inform Patients about the Disorder
Staff-supported Eating
Case Management
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