Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
Symptoms of ARFID typically show up in infancy and/or childhood. The child may avoid foods with certain textures or colors. Another situation that may lead to ARFID is a traumatic experience that involves food (e.g. getting physically ill after eating food) that results in a fear of eating. It does not involve body dissatisfaction or disturbances in body weight or shape. If AFRID is left untreated, it can develop into another eating disorder later in life.
In AFRID the requirements for nutrition and physical energy are not being met. This manifests in one or more of the following:
- Significant weight loss (or not achieving expected weight gain in children), or
- Significant nutritional deficiency leading to slower development, or
- Dependence on nutritional supplements, or
- Marked interruption in psychosocial and/or physical functioning
This disorder refers to the persistent regurgitation of chewed and/or partially digested food over at least a month. The previously swallowed food is brought into the mouth without effort with no sign of gagging or nausea. Although this is common in infancy, if children do not outgrow it, parents should seek help. Rumination disorder can also be a symptom of anorexia or bulimia.
Pica is the persistent consumption of non-food items over a period of at least a month. If this behaviour occurs after the age of 2 and/or into later life, it should be addressed as quickly as possible. Non-food substances that may be consumed include paper, soap, cloth, hair, string, wool, soil, chalk, talcum powder, paint, gum, metal, pebbles, charcoal or coal, ash, clay, starch, or ice.