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

ARFID stands for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. It is a relatively newly recognized eating disorder. It is diagnosed when there is a persistent disturbance in eating, which leads to a failure to meet nutritional needs.

Individuals with ARFID may restrict the amount or type of food they consume. This usually leads to significant weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and impaired psychosocial functioning. This blog is a quick overview of steps one can take to end their struggle with ARFID. Below are some important steps to help one heal from ARFID.

Therapeutic steps to heal ARFID:

  • Seek professional help: Consulting with a healthcare provider, such as a therapist or physician, is crucial for a comprehensive evaluation.  They can also create a personalized treatment plan.
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can help individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and behaviors related to food and eating. It can also assist in developing healthier coping strategies and addressing underlying emotional issues.
    • Exposure therapy: Gradual exposure to feared foods can help desensitize individuals to specific food anxieties and expand their food choices.
    • Family involvement: Involving family members can provide support and create a conducive environment for positive changes in eating behaviors.
    • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Practicing mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques can help manage anxiety and stress related to food and eating.
    • Support groups: Joining support groups or communities with individuals who have similar experiences can provide a sense of understanding, validation, and encouragement throughout the healing process.
    • Address co-occurring conditions: Address any underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, that may be contributing to ARFID symptoms.

Nutrition counseling for healing ARFID:

Working with a registered dietitian can help one gradually reintroduce a variety of foods and develop a structured meal plan to ensure proper nutrition and healthy eating habits. Typically, sessions will involve:

    • Establishing a structured eating routine: Creating a structured meal plan and establishing regular meal times can help individuals with ARFID develop a more predictable and consistent relationship with food.
    • Setting small, achievable goals: Recovery from ARFID is a gradual process that requires patience, persistence, and self-compassion. Celebrate small victories and be kind to yourself throughout the healing journey.

It’s important to remember that each individual’s experience with ARFID is unique, and the treatment approach should be tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. Seeking professional guidance and support is essential for a successful recovery journey.


If you would like support in healing your struggles with ARFID, reach out to us today.