Unlike some of the other eating disorders, ARFID is not focused on body image issues nor the fear of weight gain, rather these individuals exhibit severe picky eating behaviors accompanied with somatic complaints due to eating most foods. This is characterized as a picky eater, to the extreme resulting in malnutrition and extremely low body weight.

Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is the persistent pattern of disordered eating categorized by the following symptoms:

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

  • Lack of appetite

  • Complaints of bodily symptoms leading to greater restriction of food

  • Significant weight loss

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Fatigue

  • Brittle Nails

  • Dry/loss of hair

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Amenorrhea (Irregular or loss of menstrual cycle)

BEHAVIOR SYMPTOMS

  • Lack of interest in food

  • Fear of choking or vomiting resulting in reduced intake/refusal to eat

  • Inability to eat in front of others

  • Extremely limited range of preferred food that progressively worsens

  • Dependent on nutritional supplements
     

COMMON HEALTH CONCERNS

  • Malnutrition leading to several concerns similar to anorexia

  • Anemia

  • Stunted growth in children

  • Severely underweight

  • Electrolyte imbalance

  • Cardiac arrest

  • Gastrointestinal complications (chronic diarrhea, constipated, IBS)

  • Amenorrhea (Irregular or loss of menstrual cycle)

  • Neurological issues

 

Coexisting disorders may be present in a diagnosis of ARFID. Insure a complete evaluation for the eating disorder, to identify any co-morbid/coexisting disorders.

Psychiatric conditions commonly co-occurring with ARFID may be combined with:

  • Anxiety Disorders

  • Depression

 

Although these are typical symptoms please note, not all must be present to exhibit the severity of the eating disorder. 

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