Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a relatively new diagnosis in the realm of eating disorders, appearing for the first time as a clinical diagnosis in the DSM-5 in 2013. ARFID is an eating disorder that sometimes is labeled as “picky eating”. The individual will have a limited list of safe foods due to taste or texture aversions or to avoid a scenario such as choking or vomiting. Due to the intensity of these concerns, the person is unable to meet their nutrition needs.

ARFID is characterized by:

  • Apparent lack of interest in eating or food.
  • Avoidance of certain foods/food groups based on sensory characteristics of food such as texture or smell.
  • Concern for adverse consequences such as getting sick, gagging, choking, or vomiting.
  • A limited list of safe foods (acceptable foods may all have similar characteristics such as crunchy texture or similar color or temperature).
  • Significant stress or anxiety when new foods or situations with food are introduced.
  • Inability to meet nutrition needs which may result in weight loss and vitamin/mineral deficiencies.

Someone with ARFID may or may not experience weight loss or be at a dangerously low weight. What sets this apart from anorexia nervosa is that food isn’t avoided or restricted due to concerns around weight, size, or body image. Many of the same complications that result from anorexia nervosa are a risk for those with ARFID since both disorders lead to malnutrition.

How we can help with Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID):

  • Provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for exploring recovery
  • Give direction for nutrition replenishment 
  • Provide guidance/recommendation if a higher level of care is warranted
  • Offer structure and support for experiences such as food exposures to add new foods or textures
  • Work with other members of your healthcare team to help develop and apply coping skills related to food fears or aversions

Begin Your Journey to a Healthier Relationship with Food and Body
Get Started with Us

Anorexia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

Binge Eating Disorder

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Other Specified Feeding & Eating Disorder

Orthorexia Nervosa

Compulsive Exercise

Disordered Eating

Body Image Disturbance 

Co-Occurring Conditions