ARFID Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder that causes the individual to avoid multiple types of food out of fear or phobias related to them. ARFID is a complex eating disorder that requires a transdiagnostic approach that includes eating disorder-trained professionals who treat adolescents with compassion. Our family-focused ARFID treatment center includes parents in the process of helping young people with a well-rounded plan for recovering from their eating disorders.
What is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder?
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) was previously known as “selective eating disorder”. The updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published in 2013 included ARFID for the first time. ARFID has many similarities to anorexia nervosa, in that both disorders include a person limiting multiple types of food they will eat. The reasons usually revolve around phobias about the textures and appearances of these foods.
A key difference between ARFID and anorexia is that ARFID is not about a person struggling with their weight, a fear of being fat, or having an unrealistic body image. ARFID often occurs in the adolescent population. While it’s common for many children to go through phases of being picky eaters, these are usually short-lived and just a part of childhood.
When a child is diagnosed as having an eating disorder, rather than just being a picky eater, getting help for ARFID becomes necessary. This requires multi-disciplinary avoidant restrictive food intake disorder treatment that includes the family to help them learn to understand the disorder and help their child overcome it.
ARFID presents a variety of dangers to the health of a developing child. ARFID causes a child to be unable to consume the calories needed to promote growth and proper physical development. In turn, this can stunt a child’s growth and inhibit normal body development. The child may also experience weight loss or be severely underweight.
Other dangers of ARFID include:
- Nutritional deficiencies such as iron deficiency
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Lethargy and weakness
- Loss of bone density, including osteoporosis
- Cardiac complications
- Liver and kidney failure
- Loss of hair
- Gastrointestinal conditions
In addition to medical dangers, an adolescent with ARFID often finds it difficult to concentrate, which compromises their ability to do well in school. With the supportive, compassionate care provided by an adolescent ARFID treatment center, a child can begin to recover from their eating disorder and achieve better health.
Signs & Symptoms of ARFID Eating Disorder
While not all signs of someone having ARFID are the same, many of them are commonly shared. Signs and symptoms a child is in need of an ARFID treatment center include the following:
- Avoiding specific foods or entire food groups due to a fear or phobia about their textures, appearances, and other sensory characteristics
- Lack of interest in eating regularly
- Fear of choking or vomiting when eating
- Weight loss unrelated to a lack of available food or a medical condition
- Difficulty chewing food
- Not achieving normal weight or height gain for the child’s age
- Low energy or lethargy
- Needing nutritional supplements in order to get in adequate calorie amounts
- Being uncomfortable eating in front of others
- Taking lengthy amounts of time to finish a meal
- Difficulty with concentration and cognitive abilities that affect schoolwork
Types of Treatment for ARFID
A quality, multi-disciplinary avoidant restrictive food intake disorder treatment program will consist of several therapeutic modalities. This allows the individual to receive a transdiagnostic approach from eating disorder trained professionals that helps those from a diverse population of backgrounds. Effective types of treatment for ARFID include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT teaches individuals to recognize distorted thinking patterns and gain a better understanding of how their thoughts influence their behaviors. As a result, an adolescent can learn to problem-solve when faced with challenging emotions or situations and face their fears, rather than defaulting to eating disordered behaviors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is modified from CBT and helps people identify and regulate their emotions. As a result, the individual processes these things in a more realistic manner, rather than reacting in the moment, which often involves using eating disordered behaviors.
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP)
ERP involves gradually exposing a person to something that typically triggers their mental health disorder, including eating disorders. ERP can include therapist-supervised outings to restaurants and farmer’s markets to help young people make peace with fear foods.
Someone with ARFID often does not understand how compromised this complex eating disorder can make their nutritional intake. Nutrition counseling helps educate the individual about what foods constitute a balanced diet for their age group.
This is a type of holistic therapy that embraces the idea that a person’s mind, body, and spirit all come together to influence their overall health. Somatic psychotherapy teaches people to understand their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and how they can influence their diet and physical health.
Family-focused treatment works to help the entire family understand what their loved one is going through and come together as a unit to help them heal. Therapists lead sessions to help achieve unity as a family. Additionally, the family is constantly updated about how their child is doing when they are in a residential program.
Benefits of an ARFID Treatment Center
A child attending a qualified, professional ARFID treatment center will gain a multitude of benefits. They begin with the individual receiving a medical evaluation that pinpoints any nutritional deficiencies and other medical maladies that have already occurred. This allows medical staff, including doctors and nurses, to plan treatment that includes addressing these conditions, as well as preventing the development of additional ones.
Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder treatment helps young people understand any causal events that may have contributed to the onset of the eating disorder. This kind of treatment also helps the individual understand the damage eating like this does to the body in terms of both physical and mental health.
Another benefit involves opening up a child’s mind to the idea that they can overcome their restrictive eating habits and phobias about certain foods. This helps combat the idea that their eating disorder proves to be permanent or that it will just pass on its own because it’s merely a phase.
Begin Healing at Our ARFID Treatment Center in Los Angeles
Do you have a child who needs avoidant restrictive food intake disorder treatment? Montare Behavioral Health in Los Angeles provides an ARFID treatment center staffed with caring eating disorder-trained professionals ready to help your loved one confront their eating disorder using multiple treatment modalities. We understand how complex eating disorders are and the right approach for treating young people who experience them.
If you would like to speak to staff about arranging care for your child, please visit our admissions page now. We are happy to explain our program and answer any questions you have.