ARFID Awareness

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ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder)

ARFID, previously known as Selective Eating Disorder, is often an eating disorder that goes undiagnosed or overlooked. This is probably because it is just seen as "picky eating," however it is much more than that.ARFID is characterised by a pattern of eating where a person avoids or heavily restricts certain foods based on its taste, appearance, smell, or texture. Often, this leads a person to develop fear and anxiety around some foods, which are often called fear foods. ARFID is not caused by or linked to any fears around body image or weight.While it may sometimes seem harmless, for a lot of people ARFID has an extremely negative impact on growth and develpment, due to their restrictions meaning they do not get enough calories. If not treated in childhood, it can lead to more problems during adulthood.It is important to note that ARFID is more common among people on the autism spectrum, or is a co-morbidity for those with ADHD or anxiety disorders.

Signs and Symptoms

Potential Signs of ARFID
• Avoidance of large food groups (eg. meat, soft textures)
• Sensitivity to aspects of food (eg. temperatures, textures)
• Lack of interest in eating, or skipping meals entirely
• Forgetting to eat
• Avoidance of social situations that include food
• Avoidance of eating around other people
• Difficulty in recognising when they're hungry
• Anxiety when in the presence of food
• Needing nutritional/vitamin supplements
Potential Symptoms of ARFID
• Dramatic weight loss
• Stomach cramps/constipation
• Menstrual irregularities
• Dizziness
• Brittle hair and nails
• Hair loss
• Feeling cold all of the time
• Muscle weaknesses
• Sleeping issues
• Weaker immune system
Some other health risks also include issues with organs, hormone imbalances, and reduced bone density.

Ways you can support the people around you, as well as the wider ARFID community

Like with any physical or mental condition, the most useful thing you can do to support someone with ARFID is to talk to them about their own specific needs. For some people, they may need some encouragement when it comes to eating their current safe foods or trying to expand their diet. For others, it might be help with rationalising a fear about a certain food.
But please, by any means, do not force them to eat anything or refuse to give them food.
Aside from this, there are petitions out there to help with further research and healthcare for ARFID:
> (UK) Petition to increase government funding for ARFID supportIf you suspect that someone you know has ARFID, please click here for some resources

Resources - for yourself

Discord (for ages 13+)
Discord (for ages 16-29)
UK Facebook
Ireland Bodywhys Support Group (for ages 13-19)
Ireland Bodywhys Support Group (for ages 19+)
Food tracking/management
Food Encyclopedia

Resources - for others

Facebook - parents of children with ARFID/SED
Facebook - parental support (UK & Ireland Only)
EDANZ Support Groups (New Zealand Only)
Understanding ARFID - Blogs and Articles
Autism and ARFID
BEAT - Caring for someone with an eating disorder
Picky Eating VS ARFID
(USA) National Eating Disorders - Information
(USA) National Eating Disorders - Living with ARFID
(USA) National Eating Disorders - Recovery Story
Understanding ARFID - Videos and Podcasts
BBC Radio 5 - Living with ARFID
Podcast - GROUP
Podcast - Terrible, thanks for asking
TEDx Talk by Dr. Felix Economakis
Understanding ARFID - Gaming
Minecraft mod simulating ARFID


Österreichische Gesellschaft für Essstörungen
NEDIC contact
Teenage Helpline