Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder characterized by a persistent avoidance or restriction of food intake, leading to inadequate nutrition and significant weight loss or failure to achieve expected growth and development in children. Unlike other eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, the primary focus of ARFID is not on body image or weight concerns.

Individuals with ARFID often have an extremely limited range of preferred foods and may avoid entire food groups or textures. They may be highly sensitive to the sensory aspects of food, such as taste, texture, smell, or temperature, leading to avoidance or refusal of certain foods. This can result in significant nutritional deficiencies and impaired functioning.


ARFID can occur in both children and adults, and its causes are multi-faceted. It may be related to sensory sensitivities, gastrointestinal issues, fear of choking or vomiting, traumatic experiences with food, or a general lack of interest in eating. Psychological factors, such as anxiety or obsessive-compulsive traits, may also contribute to the development and maintenance of ARFID.

Brighten Bay’s treatment for ARFID typically involves a multidisciplinary approach that addresses the physical, nutritional, and psychological aspects of the disorder. Nutritional rehabilitation is a key component, with a focus on gradually expanding the range of acceptable foods and ensuring adequate nutrient intake.

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), may be used to address any underlying psychological factors and help individuals develop healthier attitudes and behaviors towards food. Exposure therapy, which involves gradually exposing individuals to feared or avoided foods, can also be effective in expanding their food repertoire.

In some cases, medical interventions, such as supplements or tube feeding, may be necessary to ensure adequate nutrition and weight gain. Family involvement and support are crucial, particularly as parents and caregivers play a significant role in meal planning and creating a positive eating environment.

With proper treatment and support, individuals with ARFID can make significant improvements in their eating behaviors and overall well-being. Early intervention is important to prevent long-term health consequences and complications associated with inadequate nutrition.

Talk to Us About Bulimia Treatment

At Brighten Bay, we’re dedicated to equipping individuals and their families with the resources needed to heal from bulimia. With our wealth of expertise, we address bulimia and any co-occurring conditions in the same setting for the best possible chance of long-term recovery. Our focus is on treating the whole person — mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved is suffering from bulimia, get in touch with us today. Our compassionate staff is standing by to answer your questions and help you begin the journey to recovery.