Binge Eating Disorder and Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

By December 16, 2021 Parenting

Throughout this blog post, I will be discussing the diagnostic criteria, symptoms and warning signs, and ways to help someone who may be struggling with Binge Eating Disorder and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or AFRID

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder occurs when large amounts of food are consumed and an individual feels unable to stop. According to National Eating Disorders Association (2018), binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States. Binge eating disorder can be severe but is treatable. After an individual engages in a binge, they typically do not try to get rid of the extra calories by vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising like someone who struggles with Bulimia might. To help with the extra calories, they may try different diets or eat typical meals.

Diagnostic Criteria: According to National Eating Disorders Association (2018), to be diagnosed with binge eating disorder you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating are present. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both items below:
    • Eating an amount of food that is more than what most people would eat
    • Lack of control over eating during the episode
  • Binge eating episodes are associated with at least three of the following:
    • Eating more rapidly than normal
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling hungry
    • Eating alone due to feeling embarrassed by how much is being consumed
    • Feeling disgusted with self, depressed, or guilty afterward
  • Binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months
  • Distress regarding binge eating is present

Symptoms and Warning Signs: Below are a few emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms and warning signs. For a full list, please visit: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/bed

  • Emotional and Behavioral: appearing uncomfortable eating around others, steal or hoard food in strange places, disrupt normal eating behaviors, creating lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge sessions, and eating when feeling full or not hungry
  • Physical: noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down

How to help: Engaging in an open and honest conversation regarding concerns can be helpful. You do not want to display feelings or emotions that may be conveyed as shameful or blaming. It is also important to normalize and reinforce a healthy body image. As always, it is essential to seek professional medical treatment for further assistance and guidance. It is important to research and educate yourself on binge eating disorder and recognize the warning signs and symptoms

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

According to National Eating Disorders Association (2018) ARFID is new to the DSM-5 and was previously referred to as “Selective Eating Disorder.” AFRID is similar to Anorexia as they both involve the inability to meet nutritional needs. However, ARFID does not involve any distress about body shape or size. ARFID involves not getting a sufficient amount of calories to grow and develop appropriately. It is noted that those with autism spectrum conditions, ADHD, and intellectual disabilities are more likely to develop ARFID (National Eating Disorders Association, 2018).

Diagnostic Criteria: According to National Eating Disorders Association (2018), to be diagnosed with ARFID, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • An eating disturbance associated with one or more of the following:
    • Significant weight loss and nutritional deficiency
    • Needing to take oral nutritional supplements
    • Lack of psychosocial functioning
  • Avoidant behavior is not explained by lack of available food or associated with cultural practices
  • It does not occur during the course of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, and no evidence in the way the body weight or shape is experienced
  • Not associated with a medical condition or mental health disorder

Symptoms and Warning Signs: Below are a few emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms and warning signs. For a full list, please visit: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/arfid

  • Emotional and Behavioral: reporting consistent gastrointestinal issues around mealtimes that have no known cause, lack of appetite, fear of weight gain, and restricting certain types or amounts of food.
  • Physical: abnormal laboratory results, frequently feeling cold, poor immune functioning, fainting, thinning of hair, and dry and brittle nails

How to help: It is important to research and educate yourself on ARFID and recognize the warning signs and symptoms. Being supportive and encouraging professional help can also be beneficial.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Jaclyn Stroehl, LBSW

References:

National Eating Disorders Association. (2018, February 22). Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/arfid

National Eating Disorders Association. (2018b, February 22). Binge Eating Disorder. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/bed

Binge-eating disorder – Symptoms and causes. (2018, May 5). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/binge-eating-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353627

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