ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

ARFID, or Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, is aanxiety, stress, distress, perfectionism, health, therapy complex eating disorder characterized by limitations in the amount or types of food consumed, often resulting in significant nutritional deficiencies and impaired psychosocial functioning.

ARFID has a significant distinction from other eating disorders. Unlike anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, individuals with ARFID do not have body image disturbances. They do not have a fear of weight gain as their primary concern.


  • Extreme pickiness about the types or textures of foods consumed
  • Avoidance or refusal to eat certain foods based on sensory characteristics (e.g., taste, smell, texture)
  • Significant weight loss or failure to achieve expected weight gain in children
  • Nutritional deficiencies or dependence on nutritional supplements
  • Anxiety or distress related to eating situations
  • Limited range of preferred foods

Treatment Approach

Addressing ARFID typically involves a multi-disciplinary approach that may include psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, medical intervention, and family support.

The goals of therapy are to expand the individual’s food repertoire, and address any underlying emotional or psychological factors that trigger the disorder. Additionally, it is important to address getting proper nutritional intake for overall health and well-being.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is often used to address the cognitive and behavioral aspects of ARFID. Through CBT, individuals can learn to challenge and reframe negative thoughts and beliefs about food, develop coping strategies for managing anxiety related to eating, and gradually expose themselves to new or avoided foods in a structured and supportive environment.

Exposure Therapy

boundaries, eating disorder, health, dietExposure therapy involves gradually introducing feared or avoided foods in a controlled and supportive setting, allowing individuals to desensitize themselves to the anxiety-provoking aspects of those foods. With repeated exposure and practice, individuals can learn to tolerate and eventually incorporate these foods into their diet.

Nutritional Counseling

Working with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can help individuals with ARFID ensure they are meeting their nutritional needs despite food restrictions or aversions. Nutritional counseling may involve meal planning, education about balanced eating, and strategies for incorporating a variety of foods into the diet.

Family-Based Treatment (FBT)

FBT involves the active involvement of family members in the treatment process, particularly for children and adolescents with ARFID.

Through FBT, families can learn to create a supportive mealtime environment, implement structured meal plans, and gradually expose their child to new foods in a supportive and non-coercive manner.

Medication Management

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to address co-occurring symptoms such as anxiety or depression that may exacerbate ARFID. Additionally, medications that stimulate appetite or regulate mood may be considered as adjunctive treatment.

Evolve’s Approach

At Evolve Wellness, we take a compassionate and individualized approach to treating ARFID. Our team of experienced therapists and dietitians works collaboratively with clients and their families to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their unique needs and circumstances.

Through evidence-based interventions and a supportive therapeutic environment, we strive to empower individuals with ARFID to overcome their challenges and cultivate a healthier relationship with food and eating.


If you or someone you know is struggling with ARFID, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You deserve support, understanding, and compassion on your journey towards healing. Recovery is possible, and no one has to face it alone.


Reach out to us today. We are happy to discuss treatment options that are right for you.