Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder characterized by avoidance of certain foods or food groups. One of the lesser-known eating disorders, ARFID has become more pronounced over time as a recent diagnosis, and causes, effects, and effective recovery solutions are slowly emerging as more medical research is collected.
One of the most important ways to treat a condition is by understating where it comes from, and for many people, trauma is linked to the development of eating disorders like ARFID. We’ll take a look into all things ARFID and learn how previous traumas can potentially make a lasting impact.
How Does ARFID Start?
ARFID is often described as an “extreme version of picky eating,” something that doesn’t just happen out of the blue. Trauma is one of the causes most pointed to when analyzing cases of this condition, as many case studies show that people with ARFID have also suffered from some traumatic experience in their childhood. It’s not uncommon for children to display preferences for certain foods or meals, but things become much more serious when those preferences start impacting development. ARFID can also start from other psychological or genetic factors that lead to feeding problems or difficulty eating certain foods.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a lasting emotional reaction or response after living through or experiencing a stressful event. Traumatic events can leave people with a lacking sense of safety or purpose or an inability to properly regulate emotions, navigate relationships, or make appropriate decisions when in situations involving the traumatic event. With the potential for repetitive emotional scars, it’s clear why many believe trauma can leave a lasting impact on the foods children choose to consume.
Are Traumas and PTSD Linked to ARFID?
When performing an examination, doctors will ask questions involving children’s medical history, eating and exercise history, and history with any emotional issues. As most medical professionals can attest, traumatic events at a younger age can cause more intense and lasting effects as you age. Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder are much more prevalent in society than we think and won’t simply disappear after some time. This can lead to behavioral changes and decisions that impact what you eat later in life. Conditions like PTSD can lead to coping mechanisms that lead to binging, purging, and avoiding certain food groups.
How to Find Help for ARFID
So how can you help your child or loved one recover from ARFID and similar conditions? It all starts with diagnosing the illness. Numerous studies show that lack of proper nutrition can inhibit children and lead to delayed growth and development and long-term effects that impact children for years to come. Once diagnosed, medical professionals can work to find appropriate treatment programs designed to surround ARFID patients with support. Clinical professionals can work with you to find the right combination of medication and therapy to treat ARFID.
Treat ARFID and Other Eating Disorders with Aster Springs
If you’re worried that your child may have ARFID or is displaying signs and symptoms of ARFID, calling on help from clinical professionals is the best way to find the support you both need. Treatment centers like Aster Springs provide expertise and support through treatment programs designed with the patient in mind. Comprehensive treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP) are designed to provide a safe and comfortable recovery environment.
If someone you love is displaying signs of ARFID, fill out our contact form today or call Aster Springs at 804-415-7603 for more information on our treatment programs and how they’re designed to support eating disorder recovery.