ARFID is sometimes characterised as 'picky eating', but it's actually one of the newly categorised forms of eating disorder. A person with ARFID has issues eating certain foods, which leads to inadequate nutritional intake. Eventually, ARFID can lead to a dependence on supplements, or even a feeding tube.
Unlike other eating disorders, ARFID is most common in childhood or infancy, although it can affect adults too. In adults, ARFID may cause weight loss, but in children and young people, it may simply mean they do not gain the weight they should. This can have a significant impact on health.
Warning signs of ARFID:
Trouble eating or digesting specific types of food
Only eating very small portions
Eating very slowly
Avoiding particular types, textures, or colours of food
Lack of appetite
Fear of eating – can be caused as a result of choking or vomiting previously
If you think your child or loved one is showing signs of ARFID, it's important to seek help straight away.
The first step is visiting your GP and asking for a referral to an Eating Disorder Specialist.