What It’s To Have It

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ARFID differs from eating disorders that restrict calories because of fear of gaining weight or having a distorted body image. You may have experienced a traumatic event that led to the avoidance or limitation of

“My fear was growing,” Diana told BuzzFeed News. “It started with a fear of choking on food. [an allergic reaction]This was specific to foods I didn’t enjoy or had never tried before. This started with an irrational fear stemming from watching a show about people being killed by food that I was already afraid of. ”

ARFID children and adults usually have a list of “safe” foods they can eat. Outside of those safe foods, avoid eating foods with specific odorstaste, temperature, texture, color, category, or from a specific brand.

In a street style interview on a TikTok show don’t tell anyonepart of a podcast where people are asked to reveal their secrets, one named Jason shared what it means to have ARFID. There are about 20 to 25. Otherwise you get an automatic gag response.It has been since I was a kid…I carry a lot of guilt and shame about it.

TikTok has gone viral, with 3 million views and over 3,000 comments, with many people sharing their experiences with eating disorders. “As a fellow girlfriend’s ARFID patient, thank you for sharing your story and spreading awareness,” said one user.

With more people talking about the disease and raising awareness, it can help reduce the shame many feel about being disabled. usually do not meet their nutritional needs They may be underweight, undernourished, dependent on dietary supplements, and have mental, emotional, and cognitive problems.

It is not clear exactly how many people in total have ARFID, but among those with eating disorders, 9% of adults and 22% of children It meets the criteria.almost 9% of the world’s population28.8 million Americans have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

We spoke with experts about the different types of ARFID, the causes of eating disorders, symptoms, treatment options, and the psychological impact this condition has on people affected.

There are 3 different types of ARFID

DSM-5, the manual used by mental health professionals to diagnose and treat the condition, divides ARFID into three categories.

  • Hypersensitivity
  • not interested in eating
  • Food avoidance due to traumatic experiences


one Most Common Reasons to Avoid Increased sensitivity to food, including taste, texture, appearance, and smell. People with ARFID may consider fruits and vegetables to be bitter and avoid these foods. As a result, they rely on highly processed, dense foods and can be severely deficient in vitamins and minerals.

For most people with ARFID, food avoidance begins in early childhood, according to Pasadena, California-based clinical psychologist and registered dietitian Supatra Tovar.

“ARFID is an eating disorder characterized by persistent anxiety about the consequences of eating, including fear of choking or vomiting, and severe restrictions on the amount and type of food eaten,” Tovar told BuzzFeed News.

For some people with ARFID, like Diana, the texture and taste of food can provoke real fear.

“I did everything I could to avoid swallowing anything, because any unexpected texture or taste makes my heart pound, and if I do, something bad happens,” said Diana. “I would spit it out on a napkin or run to the bathroom and spit out what I had in my mouth. Or perhaps you won’t be able to eat anything that day.

trauma experience

Food avoidance and restriction may be caused by previous interactions with food. People who have experienced a traumatic food-related event may find that avoiding food temporarily relieves their anxiety.

“Not all ARFID patients start out with a picky diet,” says Kim Anderson, executive director of the Baltimore-based Eating Recovery Center. “Sometimes negative experiences with food, such as choking, vomiting, gastrointestinal discomfort, or allergic reactions, can trigger a fear of certain foods or eating in general, which can lead to the development of ARFID. ”

People with ARFID may generalize to certain types of foods associated with traumatic experiences, avoiding all food groups or, worse, all solid foods.

lack of interest

Some ARFID Patients find eating choresUnlike people with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, Tovar said the lack of interest in people with ARFID was based on poor body image, body dysmorphia, or fear of weight gain. It emphasizes that it is not

“ARFID is not associated with binge eating behaviors common in binge eating disorders or behaviors associated with bulimia nervosa, such as vomiting, laxative or diuretic use, and excessive exercise to compensate for binge eating.” said Tovar.

People with ARFID don’t usually enjoy eating.

“There’s usually a general lack of interest in eating, not because you’re not hungry, but because there’s a general fear of what the possible consequences of eating food might be,” Diana said. She starts by examining the food to make sure it’s exactly what she wanted and looks like what she expected.

“If the sensation doesn’t match the mouthfeel, there’s a good chance you’ll panic, spit out the food, and lose your appetite,” she told BuzzFeed News.

Symptoms of ARFID

ARFID can cause vitamin deficiencies, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), irregular heartbeats, and low blood potassium levels. Other symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, cold tolerance, dry skin, and hair loss.

Symptoms of ARFID imitate other conditionsTherefore, doctors should rule out conditions such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and type 1 diabetes.

“ARFID is often misunderstood as a childhood disease, leaving many adults undiagnosed and untreated,” said Anderson. “Although studies on adults are limited, we know that their symptoms are just as severe as younger patients and that available treatments may be effective.

Additionally, ARFID symptoms may appear different in children and adults.

In children, common signs and symptoms of ARFID include refusal to try new foods, fear of choking, vomiting, or nausea, and/or aversion to certain textures. , signs and symptoms may include fear of certain foods, inability or reluctance to eat in front of others, difficulty eating in social or unfamiliar settings, and lack of interest in food I have.

moreover, People with ADHDmay have an autism spectrum condition, or an anxiety disorder more likely to develop ARFIDChildren are also at increased risk of developing other mental illnesses.

People who avoid meat and animal products may be deficient in vitamin B12. Keep blood and nerve cells healthy Found only in animal products such as meat, cheese, eggs and milk. People who don’t eat fruits and vegetables may be deficient in vitamin C. Helps protect cells from damage cheers us up.

ARFID treatment options

ARFID usually requires a combination of medical, nutritional and psychological interventions as a result of malnutrition and weight loss, Anderson told BuzzFeed News.

“Severe cases may require hospitalization or home care,” said Anderson. “Once stabilized, patients are engaged in psychotherapy using evidence-based cognitive and behavioral strategies, increasing food types and amounts, gaining weight as needed, and associated anxiety and other problems. will deal with.”

Diana managed her ARFID by finding a professional who guided her through exposure therapy and trying fear foods.

“I also encourage you to track your progress,” said Diana. “Each time I try a new food, I feel daunted and mentally not progressing, but proving to myself that I’ve overcome so many other foods is what makes you do it.” It’s a positive reminder that you can do it.”

Conditions are also a good reminder never comment on a person’s bodyeven if you think it’s a compliment.

“Many patients diagnosed with ARFID are very distressed about losing weight,” Anderson told BuzzFeed News. “They often express satisfaction and pride in gaining weight as treatment progresses.”

In a video on TikTok, Jason details his experience on the podcast. episodeHe said it was difficult to talk about ARFID, but after it went viral, he became even more stressed. However, he eventually saw some comments and realized that sharing his own experience would be helpful to others.

“I thought it would be nice to talk about it. I can really relate to people who are feeling lonely and having a lot of pain about it,” Jason said on the podcast. I know how you feel, and when I found out it had a name, I realized how big a deal it was for me, not just me.”


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