Hypnotherapy for ARFID

Are you struggling with ARFID? Speak to a specialist who understands. Hypnotherapy is available online or in-practise in Surrey, UK. Book your FREE consult.

What is ARFID?

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, previously known as Selective Eating Disorder, is an eating disorder where a person will avoid certain foods, types of food or whole groups of foods. There is a genuine fear and dislike of these foods. It is much more than just being a picky eater or fussy eating.

ARFID Symptoms

You may be experiencing one or several of these known symptoms.

  • A lack of interest in food
  • An aversion to food. Really can’t eat certain foods or a range of foods, even though you want to.
  • Over-sensitivity to the sensory aspects of food, i.e. textures, tastes, smell.
  • Over-reactions to some foods i.e. choking, vomiting, gagging.
  • Over particular about food combining, i.e. does not like certain foods touching.
  • Over particular about the state of food i.e. freshness, how it is stored.
  • Over particular about how food is prepared and served.
  • Anxiety around food. A fear of food.

ARFID is not the same as other eating disorders in that

  • The person with ARFID is not interested in body size or body image as in Anorexia Nervosa and there are no other compensatory behaviours such as purging as with Bulimia Nervosa.
  • There is no other behaviour associated with weight loss such as over-exercising, fasting or dieting.
  • There is not a lack of food available, nor is it attributable to a religious practise.

What causes ARFID in adults?

There is not one known cause. We do know that it can start in early childhood from 6 months - 2 years. Young children can develop an over-sensitivity to textures, tastes and smells when introduced to food. If solid foods were not given between that age group, the child could have missed the opportunity for their brain to learn how to chew, taste and feel food. For example, you had a feeding tube.

This can cause poor growth or stunted growth and more likely there will be sensory issues. There may have been other medical conditions which made it hard to evolve with food,  which can cause issues into adulthood.

In adults, there may have been a trauma or series of traumas that led to the avoidance of foods and that became a safe place for your unconscious to be.

Your subconscious mind makes associations with food and for people with ARFID, those associations can be signals of discomfort and unhappiness.

So even though you may want to eat certain foods, your unconsious mind won't let you, because it wants to kep you safe.

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Other Factors associated with ARFID

  • If you have a neurological disorder like Autism spectrum disorder, you are more likely to develop ARFID.
  • People with ARFID may also experience other mental health disorders like anxiety disorders and, or ADHD.
  • There may be psychosocial impairments, for instance not being able to socialise, having social anxiety, have difficulty sleeping.

Psychological causes of ARFID in adults

You may have experienced eating difficulties or picky eating in childhood that never resolved itself and now that you’re an adult you’re struggling. Perhaps you were never diagnosed with ARFID or even knew that your way of eating was a thing.

There may have been trauma in your childhood or past. This trauma could have been a major upset, or minor traumas that happened repeatedly. Examples of trauma include; abandonment, verbal shouting, physical abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, and lack of love and affection.

Food could have been used as a tool for punishment or to change a child's behaviour.

These traumas all have an impact on the way the brain develops. Essentially as a child, we learn to survive the trauma by food avoidance, because to us food causes trauma.  So we develop restrictive eating rather than developing to be curious about food and playing.

ARFID Treatment for Adults

It is possible to heal from ARFID as an adult. I use different tools and techniques to help you heal and to help you with effective treatment for your restrictive food intake disorder.

  • I use hypnotherapy for ARFID. This includes helping you to desensitise to your food sensitivities.
  • Hypnotherapy for ARFID helps you to introduce new foods, using visualisations.
  • Hypnotherapy can help with exposure therapy, slowly introducing new foods at a pace that is right for you.
  • Psychotherapy for ARFID helps you to work on the trauma that is keeping you stuck. Part of psychotherapy is using cognitive-behavioral therapy. This helps you to
  • I also use other tools such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
  • Hypnotherapy for ARFID can help with underlying psychological co-morbidities such as anxiety, trauma and or OCD.
  • As a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, I help you to address the fear, rituals, avoidance and any other patterns that keep you from eating the way you want to.
  • I help you to change your associations with food and beliefs around food. This leads to a more relaxed and positive relationship with food.

ARFID Healing

Arfid (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder) is classified as an eating disorder in the DSMV (Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, 5th version) Due to the nature of the eating disorder, it may well be wise to have a multidisciplinary team. For instance, other mental health professionals like a psychiatrist or your doctor. Plus a dietician who is experienced in restrictive food intake disorder.

ARFID awareness is a UK charity to help with information.

Want to heal from ARFID and feel free around food? Book your FREE consult.