• Share. Be Supported. Recover.

    We are a friendly, safe community supporting each other's mental health. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Does anyone have experience with avoidant restrictive food intake disorder?

anex

anex

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
354
Location
USA
*Trigger warning* Describes some experiences that might be triggering.

I suspect I have it and want to talk to my mental health team about it.
It’s really bothering me. I hardly ever feel good. I’m either not hungry for most of the day, or VERY hungry but rarely appetized. I hate thinking about food, I hate cooking it. I hate meal planning. Most food sounds gross and I don’t want to eat it. Even though I WANT to, you know? ‘Cause I’m hungry and I want to feed my body so it functions well. And I feel bad not being able to eat much when other people cook for me.

I used to love food. I used to enjoy cooking. And eating. But now…I so don’t. Weed barely helps stimulate my appetite anymore. I’m often having to buy protein drinks. Small nutrient dense foods. It’s a problem. It’s been months. A year? Idk anymore. I had a couple periods of being able to eat more, but lately it’s been so bad.

Any tips are appreciated. I try to remember to eat small and often, but it’s been a struggle.
 
J

jamraspberry

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
352
Location
Somewhere
I think I have heard the abbreviation of it A.R.F.I.D. ?? I think that's it.
How are you coping with it?
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
3,151
Location
Australia
I have this, technically, but it came directly from intense distress and anxiety about 4 years ago that made me lose my appetite, and after a prolonged period of that, the anxiety never went away and nowadays I don't eat in the day. I'm just not hungry and I'm not interested. It's like my stomach doesn't even exist as my appetite never came back.

I can only eat dinner and I have to take my nightly Klonopin in order to have any kind of appetite and interest in eating at all. I used to LOVE going out for dinner. But now? I'm not hungry so it's hard to be interested.

I don't cook (don't know how), and always order Uber Eats at like 8pm, because by that time I'm less NOT hungry and I can just lay on the couch and browse what I feel like. I never know what I want ahead of time.

I didn't even know this was a disorder with a name!
 
anex

anex

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
354
Location
USA
I think I have heard the abbreviation of it A.R.F.I.D. ?? I think that's it.
How are you coping with it?

It’s pretty rough. I know it’s not helping my mental state, and I worry about not getting enough food. What that’s doing to my body, my heart, my mind.
I just ordered protein powder, so I’m glad for that. I was trying to make eating my first priority, but it’s really challenging. I have an appointment in January to talk to my psych. And I’ll bring up ARFID next week in therapy.
 
anex

anex

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
354
Location
USA
I have this, technically, but it came directly from intense distress and anxiety about 4 years ago that made me lose my appetite, and after a prolonged period of that, the anxiety never went away and nowadays I don't eat in the day. I'm just not hungry and I'm not interested. It's like my stomach doesn't even exist as my appetite never came back.

I can only eat dinner and I have to take my nightly Klonopin in order to have any kind of appetite and interest in eating at all. I used to LOVE going out for dinner. But now? I'm not hungry so it's hard to be interested.

I don't cook (don't know how), and always order Uber Eats at like 8pm, because by that time I'm less NOT hungry and I can just lay on the couch and browse what I feel like. I never know what I want ahead of time.

I didn't even know this was a disorder with a name!

Yeah I think anxiety, stress, depression, and reliving traumatic times is why I struggle to eat. Sounds like you’ve got it pretty severe. I’m glad you stumbled upon this thread so you know the name! Have you seen a health professional about it?
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
3,151
Location
Australia
Yeah I think anxiety, stress, depression, and reliving traumatic times is why I struggle to eat. Sounds like you’ve got it pretty severe. I’m glad you stumbled upon this thread so you know the name! Have you seen a health professional about it?

Thank you! Sometimes I pop into this section of the forum but as I don't have what I would think of as a "typical eating disorder", I always felt like maybe I shouldn't be here.

I used to think of myself as not having an ED, but rather, Disordered Eating.

No, I've never talked to any health professional about it. I will though.

I hate how the few people I'd be open about my lack of appetite / ability to eat would always say to "just eat" (I wish I could!), or "you should eat breakfast and lunch" (ugh! Just the THOUGHT makes me feel sick!) and "if you ate more, you wouldn't feel so full when you do eat" (probably true), and "you feel sick because you haven't eaten" (no. I feel sick because I feel so anxious I CANNOT physically eat, and if I did, my stomach would churn it down so quickly it'd go through me in 20 minutes).

When I've been REALLY anxious, I literally could not eat anything for days, and would just sip peach iced tea for days, until I was able to eat small amounts again (Xanax, Valium etc helped a lot and actually gave me a bit of an appetite). Nobody could understand how I felt. I would try and describe it like...how would they feel if they had a fear of heights and were about to jump out of a plane to go skydiving, and someone handed them a burger to eat. Um...NO THANKS! NOT RIGHT NOW! Then I'd say, when they LAND safely and are all relieved and excited, THEN they'd want that burger. But I never get that part where my appetite returns.

Nowadays it's more just like...chronic anxiety that's not as bad as the above, but it's been going on for so long that now my stomach is numb or switched off, and so too is the corresponding part in my brain that allows appetite to happen. I feel like this is linked to my lack of interest and enjoyment in things due to my depression (I also have CPTSD, OCD, obviously severe anxiety and BPD).

I also realised all through my childhood I was never able to finish a meal, ever. Back then, I would be hungry but then get full really quickly, and could never eat breakfast or even lunch. I now realise I was too anxious.

I have multivitamins and various vitamin and mineral gummies. And healthy juices. And iced tea. And 2 protein shakes a day. And whatever I can manage for dinner. I think my metabolism is wrecked.
 
anex

anex

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
354
Location
USA
Thank you! Sometimes I pop into this section of the forum but as I don't have what I would think of as a "typical eating disorder", I always felt like maybe I shouldn't be here.

I used to think of myself as not having an ED, but rather, Disordered Eating.

No, I've never talked to any health professional about it. I will though.

I hate how the few people I'd be open about my lack of appetite / ability to eat would always say to "just eat" (I wish I could!), or "you should eat breakfast and lunch" (ugh! Just the THOUGHT makes me feel sick!) and "if you ate more, you wouldn't feel so full when you do eat" (probably true), and "you feel sick because you haven't eaten" (no. I feel sick because I feel so anxious I CANNOT physically eat, and if I did, my stomach would churn it down so quickly it'd go through me in 20 minutes).

When I've been REALLY anxious, I literally could not eat anything for days, and would just sip peach iced tea for days, until I was able to eat small amounts again (Xanax, Valium etc helped a lot and actually gave me a bit of an appetite). Nobody could understand how I felt. I would try and describe it like...how would they feel if they had a fear of heights and were about to jump out of a plane to go skydiving, and someone handed them a burger to eat. Um...NO THANKS! NOT RIGHT NOW! Then I'd say, when they LAND safely and are all relieved and excited, THEN they'd want that burger. But I never get that part where my appetite returns.

Nowadays it's more just like...chronic anxiety that's not as bad as the above, but it's been going on for so long that now my stomach is numb or switched off, and so too is the corresponding part in my brain that allows appetite to happen. I feel like this is linked to my lack of interest and enjoyment in things due to my depression (I also have CPTSD, OCD, obviously severe anxiety and BPD).

I also realised all through my childhood I was never able to finish a meal, ever. Back then, I would be hungry but then get full really quickly, and could never eat breakfast or even lunch. I now realise I was too anxious.

I have multivitamins and various vitamin and mineral gummies. And healthy juices. And iced tea. And 2 protein shakes a day. And whatever I can manage for dinner. I think my metabolism is wrecked.

That sounds so shitty. I’m glad you are trying your best. That’s all we can do! Let us know how it goes when you see a doctor?

This is making me think of how when we go into fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system), our digestion slows down. Our appetite decreases so we can focus more on what is threatening our nervous system.
Hmmm. I know I need to develop better morning and night habits to regulate myself. If I do that, I wonder if my appetite will come back at all.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
3,151
Location
Australia
That sounds so shitty. I’m glad you are trying your best. That’s all we can do! Let us know how it goes when you see a doctor?

This is making me think of how when we go into fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system), our digestion slows down. Our appetite decreases so we can focus more on what is threatening our nervous system.
Hmmm. I know I need to develop better morning and night habits to regulate myself. If I do that, I wonder if my appetite will come back at all.

I've wondered that too. My sleep routine sucks though (like it's almost 4pm and I'm still in bed) so that makes an eating routine somewhat difficult.

It's definitely the fight or flight response and the resultant lack of appetite. I wonder how to switch that off.

Thank you so much for your support! I feel less alone now.
 
anex

anex

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
354
Location
USA
Same to you! I’m glad you feel less alone:)

As for how to switch it off, I found progressive muscle relaxation, meditating, and listening to ASMR videos really help relax me. I need to do more of that. And stick to routines! That’s the hardest part.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
3,151
Location
Australia
Same to you! I’m glad you feel less alone:)

As for how to switch it off, I found progressive muscle relaxation, meditating, and listening to ASMR videos really help relax me. I need to do more of that. And stick to routines! That’s the hardest part.

I might try some ASMR stuff. I think it could at least help me a bit with my anxiety.
 
L

lasswithgerd

New member
Joined
Dec 23, 2021
Messages
3
Location
canada
yeah, I relate. food is a chore or something i think of as "getting it over with" instead of something to enjoy. I have severe stomach issues as well as OCD so that amplifies it.

as a part of my stomach illness, i'm forced to eat something small every 3 hours or else my symptoms go insane and that's definitely turned food into my enemy.

anyways, the thing that helps me out the most is to always have a bland, bite-sized snack at my disposal (ex. i keep a small tupperware container of cheerios and water crackers on my bedside table along with a bottle of water). sometimes you just gotta build yourself up and take a bite of a cracker or a digestive biscuit.

I hope you're doing well :) take care
 
anex

anex

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
354
Location
USA
yeah, I relate. food is a chore or something i think of as "getting it over with" instead of something to enjoy. I have severe stomach issues as well as OCD so that amplifies it.

as a part of my stomach illness, i'm forced to eat something small every 3 hours or else my symptoms go insane and that's definitely turned food into my enemy.

anyways, the thing that helps me out the most is to always have a bland, bite-sized snack at my disposal (ex. i keep a small tupperware container of cheerios and water crackers on my bedside table along with a bottle of water). sometimes you just gotta build yourself up and take a bite of a cracker or a digestive biscuit.

I hope you're doing well :) take care
A chore indeed😒 That sounds very distressing.

Thank you!
That’s a good idea. Maybe I should carry a fanny snack-pack with me everywhere I go lol

I hope you’re doing well, too.
 
C

Coffeeandrainbows

Active member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
44
Location
Scotland
I just posted about this and felt silly. I even get upset at other people's foods. Xmas dinner makes me feel like a bad person because I know how much effort goes in but can't take a bite.

It's horrible and people think I'm just being awkward. I'm trying my best not to be sick. I've developed paranoia as well as I think people are trying totrick me. I can't trust my family or friends with food.

I have to lie to myself a lot just manage, I also fear making it worse as at times I've found myself having to cut more things out. There was a documentary on BBC at one point I don't think they used the official term but it did seem quite sympathetic if I remember right.

I take supplements because I think it may effect my depression if I'm not getting the right things from the foods I eat.
 
C

Coffeeandrainbows

Active member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
44
Location
Scotland
New article on the BBC about this. The first part heavily focuses on children, which I worry might make people think just picky eating. The second part discusses an adult but does seem to gloss over her actual difficulties (she has had problems with work, social life and relationships). There are possible links with undiagnosed Asperger's/ autism (which also now said to be under-diagnosed in women)

I'm glad its raising awareness but I know this issue on its own has led to health problems, anemia, social exclusion and as a kid it was horrible to feel you were the one causing a problem, so just say I'm not hungry.

To this day I still find my diet being more restricted, some one makes a joke or I went to my mum's and she had mushrooms in the curry, I no longer trust her on a lot of levels. I know that I'm taking it too far but I can't stop. I've had nightmares about food.

I'm also scared to address it as every time I dig into it a little, I find myself more repulsed/ sick at other foods.

I literally even have to sip water to stop myself being sick at other people's meals.

I'm a mess
 
LoqLamp

LoqLamp

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
1,051
Location
UK
I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder but when I’m depressed I would rather food was just injected in me or something similar. Although same with all basic functions. I do eat mostly to shut my stomach up and do feel better for it. But it is a bit of a chore. And it is enjoyable if it’s good food, like a roast dinner.
 
Top