ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder)


We at Viam Tuam want to talk to you about something called Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or ARFID for short. It’s a type of eating disorder that can make it really challenging to get enough nutrition, but it’s different from other eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.

When someone has ARFID, they might:

  • Not feel interested in food or eating
  • Only eat a few specific foods
  • Avoid foods based on how they look, smell, or feel in their mouth
  • Be afraid of choking, throwing up, or having a stomach ache after eating
  • Need supplements or a feeding tube to get enough nutrition

With ARFID, it’s not about trying to lose weight or change how your body looks. It’s more about having trouble with eating for other reasons.

Some kids and teens with ARFID might:

  • Feel like eating is a chore or a struggle
  • Gag or feel disgusted by certain foods
  • Have trouble trying new foods
    • Not get enough calories or nutrients to grow and be healthy
    • Have a hard time eating with others or in new places

We don’t know exactly what causes ARFID, but it might have to do with things like:

  • Having a sensitive sensory system
  • Feeling anxious or worried about eating
  • Having a bad experience with food, like choking or getting sick
  • Having another health condition that makes eating hard

If you think you might have ARFID, it’s important to talk to a grown-up you trust and get help from a doctor or therapist who knows a lot about eating disorders. They can work with you to:

  • Figure out what’s making eating hard
  • Find foods that you like and that help your body grow
  • Learn ways to feel less anxious or worried about eating
  • Make sure you’re getting enough nutrition
  • Help you enjoy meals and snacks with family and friends

Remember, having ARFID isn’t your fault. It’s a real disorder that can happen to anyone. You didn’t choose to have trouble with eating, but you can choose to get help and start feeling better.

You are so brave for facing this challenge. You deserve to have a good relationship with food and to get the nutrition your body needs to thrive.

At Viam Tuam, we are here to support you. We know how tough ARFID can be, but we also know how strong and capable you are. We’ll be with you every step of the way as you learn to nourish your body and mind.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You’ve got this, and you’re not alone!