How to Teach and Talk to Your Kids About Mental Health Help

Almost every parent has despaired when trying to feed nutritious meals to a picky eater. A certain amount of pickiness is normal at various stages of development. Parents need to be aware that extreme instances could be the result of avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). It’s a relatively new disorder that’s been recognized. ARFID is a mental health condition that does not get better without professional treatment.

ARFID Symptoms

Children are extremely selective about what they eat. They may also have little or no interest in eating and deny they’re hungry. Children with ARFID are often underweight and have a limited number of preferred foods. It can be related to sensory input. Your child may have an aversion to foods of a certain taste, color or texture. They may be fearful of new foods when they’re introduced.

ARFID Complications

The lack of variety in the diet affects youngsters in a variety of ways. It impacts growth, development, and proper nutrition. They may require tube feeding in extreme cases. Fainting and dizziness may occur due to low blood glucose levels or low blood pressure. They may have weak bones, be dehydrated and menstruation may stop in older girls. A child with ARFID is more prone to experiencing:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)

Possible Causes

The exact cause of ARFID isn’t known. Researchers believe it may have a genetic component combined with a child’s temperament. They believe it may be triggered by an event such as choking, vomiting, allergies, or a medical condition.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment requires a multi-faced approach for success, with a team consisting of a doctor, dietician and mental health professional. Together they will help a child maintain a normal weight and identify any medical or mental health conditions.

A physician will perform a physical exam, order multiple tests, and ask questions about your child’s medical history. He or she will have questions about medications, behaviors, emotional issues, and if there’s a problem with food security. Be aware that some children can be treated at home, while others may require a hospital-based treatment program.


Southcoast Psychiatric Services

Are you struggling with anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness, relationship problems, or other pressures of life? Don’t suffer in silence. The doctors and therapists of Southcoast Psychiatric Services can help. Caring, compassionate, and completely confidential, our services are provided by highly-experienced, licensed, and board-certified healthcare professionals, dedicated to improving your health and wellness.

Whether you require medical treatment, counseling/psychotherapy, or both, we are happy to offer the best care available – at your convenience.

Call us anytime @ (561) 241-6628 Because you don’t have to suffer in silence.