Can anyone fear food? Know about ARFID, a disorder that makes you fear food

What is Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)?

Well, we have heard of eating disorders where people tend to have a habit of abnormal eating and overeating. But do you know, there is an eating disorder that can make a person fear food. the ARFID, which expands as Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is an eating disorder that dominantly affects children and can be seen in their food habits of being extremely picky of their food choices or showing signs of fear from food. The fear can get developed from the things and instances like when they know they are to eat when they have no interest in eating, the temperature of the food are not the way, they like it to be or the fear of eating or tasting any new food.  

In 2019, this disorder received a lot of attention when it emerged that after years of just eating crisps, chips, and white bread, a teenage boy in the UK experienced permanent sight and hearing loss. His reports suggested that the teen suffered from ARFID and stuck to his limited diet rather than just a case of “limited and picky eating” since it was difficult for him to handle the taste of other foods. ARFID is a serious disorder, and no doubt, not a lot of people identify and think about it the way it should be thought.


Read more: What is Fatty Liver? Understanding its types, symptoms and treatment 


Common Symptoms

– Constipation, abdominal pain, imbalances
– Excess energy or lethargy
– vague gastrointestinal issues around mealtimes
– restricting oneself for the amount of food being eaten
– being extremely choosy with the food
– Choking or vomiting with fears
– Lack of appetite, no interest in food
– Fearing the body image, fearing wait gain


What problems can it cause –

– Nutritional deficiency as a result of insufficient food intake
– Weight loss (adults) or weight gain failure (children)
– Psychosocial deterioration in work
– Supplement reliance to preserve nutritional health


According to research, The second highest percentage (17.1 per cent [13 of 76]) of published cases involved eye disorders secondary to vitamin A deficiency. Thiamin, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D were the other primary nutrient deficiencies identified. The patient was within normal weight limits in 62.9 per cent (22 of 35) of patients for whom a body mass index or a weight percentile for age was given, according to the weight status categories of the Centers for Disease Control. Hence, it is not that ARFID can be just a thing of being picky about food. It can lead to really severe health hazards.


What can be done?

Since the disorder is of a very unique nature and the symptoms vary from person to person, the treatment of it is unique for different people and cases. One must try to consult specially trained professionals who could deal with such an illness to get the right treatment. Yet, the first step is to identify the symptoms.


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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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