ARFID : 3 effective Ways to treat it at home
Do you know every 5 out of 100 children suffer from Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder? It’s a rare eating disorder that is often left undiagnosed by medical expertise. Thereby, to prevent the complications of ARFID, you must take proper intervention measures.
Healthcare practitioners advised both psychological and medical treatment of this disease. However, this condition may be dealt with home remedies. Today we will share 3 ways to treat it naturally at home.
What do you mean by ARFID?
ARFID is a psychosocial condition that is mostly categorized as an eating disorder. Unlike anorexia and bulimia nervosa, this disorder is prevalent among children and young adolescents rather than adults. Moreover, it is more common in males than females.
Children with this disease show pricking behaviour during eating food and they prefer taking a little amount of diet. The latter leads to malnutrition and delayed growth of the kids.
Additionally, adults living with this disease suffer from severe weight loss that affects their normal body functions including irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, and insufficient blood sugar.
What are the ARFID Signs and Symptoms?
People having this disease show signs and symptoms at an early age. However, the main signs of this disease include a lack of interest in taking food or picky eating. Also, people diagnosed with it don’t feel hungry at all. Even, the colours, smell, taste of food don’t stimulate their appetite.
Additionally, the fear of choking and vomiting is quite common in children having this disease. Thereby, they are underweight when compared to children with a normal appetite.
What are the causes of ARFID?
The main cause of Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder is still unknown. However, many practitioners do believe that this condition can occur due to a combination of genetic, psychological, and metabolic errors.
People having the following disorders are prone to get Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder:
- Digestive conditions such as GERD
- Anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactive disorder
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Faulty eating and drinking habits
What are the Complications of ARFID?
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder causes malnutrition in many children which can provoke many complications. They are:
- Insufficient intake of proteins, vitamins, and minerals
- Dependency on nutritional supplements
- Low rate of body growth
- Delayed onset of puberty
- Dizziness and fatigue due to low blood flow
- Dehydration due to inadequate intake of fluids
- Low bone mineral density
- Frequent muscle spasms
- Disturbance in the female menstrual cycle
How to Diagnose ARFID?
To diagnose whether you have Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder or not, your doctor will ask you about your eating habits. Moreover, your practitioner will also assess by running a routine exam including your past medical history and laboratory results.
Common questions asked by the healthcare providers to diagnose ARFID includes:
- Do you have a loss of appetite?
- Do you avoid food due to its bad smell or texture?
- Do you feel choking or nausea while eating your meal?
- Are you on nutritional supplements?
- Are you using a feeding tube?
- Have you ever experienced any bouts of anorexia or bulimia nervosa?
Furthermore, your doctor will also tell you to do blood, urine, and electrocardiogram test to confirm their potential diagnosis.
What is the treatment of ARFID?
A team of doctors, psychotherapists, and dieticians work together to treat ARFID. The treatment plan includes medical care, a diet chart, and feeding therapy. If a person with ARFID is having frequent choking then a speech-language pathologist can evaluate the person’s swallowing.
Additionally, the goals of this treatment consist of:
- To maintain healthy eating habits and normal body weight of a patient
- To add variety in the food taken by the patient
- To teach techniques that decrease choking sensations
Doctors also prescribe medications to boost appetite or decrease the anxiety of a person suffering from this disease. If anxiety is the main concern then the therapist will teach CBT to kids and their parents to limit their insecurities related to food. Also, tube feeding will be given to patients that have severe nutritional deficits.
How to treat ARFID at home?
Even though many hospitals have intensive programs to manage this disease, you can easily deal with this condition by addressing your child’s mealtime behaviours. Following are the top 3 ways to treat this condition at home:
Add New Food to the Table
Sometimes parents want to follow treatment so badly that they are expecting their children with ARFID to eat high amounts of food in no time. Moreover, caretakers keep serving the same type of meal to its patients. Thereby, patience is a must when you are dealing with this disease kid at home. Try to bring new food to the table that may please their child’s eye.
In addition, parents should expose their child to a small portion of food. Remember to increase your kid’s meal portion gradually. This technique will allow your kid to make progress without feeling demotivated.
Be Consistent with your Approach
Exposing your child to food won’t be easy for any parent. Even, this exposure can trigger intense emotion within your kid. But the key is to remain consistent with your approach. Keep serving the different types of food to your kid for ten days as repeated meals will increase your kid’s food tolerance.
Encourage your kid’s participation
The idea of adding new food to the plate can be worrisome for your children and can increase his or her anxiety. But encouraging your children while exposing them to food will be very beneficial. Also, you kid must take the treatment process as an adventure. However, a positive attitude from your family increases the effectiveness of a treatment plan for ARFID. Also, it will help your child to keep trying new meals without having any fear of failure.
The Bottom Line
We have the background of ARFID with you and have shared the top 3 ways to treat it naturally at home. Thereby, you must apply these techniques to improve the life’s quality of its patients.