ARFID Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Our therapists and counsellors are experienced in treating all eating disorders including but not restricted to Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, Bulimia, Anorexia and Binge Eating and will tailor treatment programmes that are personalised to your specific illness. You may not be sure what condition you or a loved one are suffering with, but rest assured our experienced medical team will evaluate you on entry and diagnose you.

During your recovery, we will address the root cause of your disorder using proven therapies to challenge your perceptions of yourself. You will also be provided with a nutrition and diet plan personalised to fit your physical and emotional needs.

What is ARFID?

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder where individuals select what they eat based on factors such as appearance, brand, taste, smell, texture or past negative experiences. Formerly known as selective eating disorder, ARFID was previously classified as an illness in children and adolescents. This classification was eventually expanded to include adults who meet the criteria that are not related to established eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. It is important to note that some people are naturally picky eaters, with no related psychological or physiological problems. ARFID is diagnosed by clinicians, taking into consideration the variety of foods you consume, how long you have been avoiding a particular food, the portion sizes of food you eat, and any related medical issues, such as malnutrition. Unlike most eating disorders, ARFID does not usually affect how you view your body size or shape. Losing weight is not a goal of people with ARFID.

What causes ARFID?

There is hardly ever just one causal factor for ARFID. ARFID develops from a complex mix of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Individuals can develop into eating disorders due to temperamental traits passed down through generations making them predisposed to certain behaviours. Psychological issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder, mood disturbances and anxiety are also associated with eating disorders, including ARFID. Sociocultural definitions of eating habits and trends can also influence or pressure individuals into changing their food habits. Recent campaigns on the environmental impacts of processed foods and packaging may also influence individuals’ food choices.

Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of ARFID can be categorised into behavioural and physical. If you or a loved one are experiencing some of the symptoms listed below, it is important to seek professional help immediately.

Behavioural symptoms of ARFID include:

  • Choosing to eat only foods with certain textures, appearance or tastes
  • Avoiding social situations where food is served, including family meals
  • Nausea or vomiting when faced with adverse foods
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Wearing clothes that hide dramatic weight loss
  • Loss of interest in food
  • Lack of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal issues or abdominal pain with no known cause
  • Lack of body image disturbance
  • No fear of weight gain
  • Using supplements

ARFID and anorexia share symptoms, as both disorders involve not eating a healthy amount of food. However, while anorexia suffers are often concerned with body image and weight loss, ARFID suffers are usually not. Physical signs of ARFID include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Constipation
  • Malnutrition
  • Abnormal results from lab tests including anaemia,
  • Low blood cell count, low thyroid and hormone levels
  • Weakened immune system
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Dizziness and fainting spells
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of body heat
  • Dry skin, brittle nails and hair
  • Hair thinning or hair loss
  • Lanugo – fine hairs all over the body

How Do we Treat it?

Our treatment programme focuses on your physical, emotion and psychological health. With our team of highly-experienced counsellors and therapists, we address the root cause of your eating disorder, helping to deal with any underlying mental or physical issues that aggravate your condition. To achieve a full recovery, you need to understand your eating disorder and we help you do just that. We offer a treatment plan that takes into account factors such as your type of ARFID, how long you have had the condition, and your personal goals and values. We use proven therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps you change the way you deal with negative thoughts and behaviours. We also provide a nutrition and diet plan to help you achieve a healthy weight. Any minor health complications are treated by our expert medical staff, and more serious issues are promptly referred to hospitals for adequate treatment. All these programmes take place in our safe and nurturing facility, with the right atmosphere to enable you to focus on your recovery. We encourage family participation in the treatment programmes, especially in family therapy sessions where you are taught how to support your loved ones through the recovery process and help them maintain their health and well-being.

16 – 18 Treatment

Our experts specialise in treating eating disorders in teenagers at our Sister Centre Banbury Lodge. We provide personalised treatment services for 16-18 year olds with ARFID and other eating disorders. We understand that eating disorders are quite common among teenagers, either due to peer pressure or as a way to manifest their anxieties. At our clinic, we treat the mind, body and spirit, effectively ensuring that the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of these young individuals are taken care of. We provide nutrition and diet plans specially tailored to the needs of each individual. Family participation is also an important aspect of treatment. It is important that you be there for your loved one as they go through recovery.

ARFID Post-Treatment Support

At Primrose Lodge we offer one year free aftercare services to all our clients. This includes comprehensive post-treatment support for ARFID. Once your treatment is complete, you will be entitled to continued staff support, including regular check-ins and extra counselling sessions as needed. Sessions are held weekly at Primrose Lodge with our qualified counsellors. We can also refer you to post-treatment ARFID support groups close to you. We provide all the help and support you need to maintain healthy eating habits and prevent a relapse into old habits.

Get in Touch Today

At Primrose Lodge, we have all the experience and resources to help you with ARFID. It is a serious disorder that requires immediate action, and we can provide the help you need as soon as you contact us. Eating disorders are dangerous because of the severe physical and mental stress they can cause to the body. The sooner you seek help, the better your chances of recovery.

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Call Now 0203 553 9263
Call Now 0203 553 9263

Call Now 0203 553 9263

Find us
  • Perry Hill
  • Worplesdon
  • Guildford
  • Surrey GU3 3RF