A young woman worries that eating anything else may cause her to choke, throw up, or possibly die, so she only eats beige cuisine to survive.
Sara Barnes, a resident of Ontario, Canada, was only allowed to eat a limited number of “safe” items as a child, including bread, chicken, and plain yoghurt.
Nonetheless, the 22-year-old’s avoidant restricted food intake disorder (ARFID) diagnosis was made just three years ago.
Because she ‘can’t manage’ with varied textures, Ms. Barnes added that her diet is similar to that of a toddler.
Consequently, items like pizza, red meat and rice pudding should be avoided.
“I get so freaked out by how food looks because I can imagine how the texture will feel in my mouth and I immediately know that I can’t eat it,” stated Ms. Barnes, a phone salesperson who is awaiting therapy.
Because of the texture, I’m terrified that after ingesting something, I’ll pass out.
Finding any food that doesn’t sound horrible or that I believe I could even eat is extremely difficult for me.
Nothing appeals to me.According to Ms. Barnes, when she was a child, her parents noted that she would just want juice and wouldn’t want to eat.
They had a hard time getting her to eat anything at all, let alone explore new foods.
When they took her to the doctor, the physician told them that she would get sick if she didn’t eat more.
The acronym ARFID stands for Avoidant Restriction Food Intake Disorder.
The second most prevalent eating disorder in children under the age of twelve is ARFID.
It’s referred to as extremely finicky eating.
Food aversion, nervousness, being underweight, or sluggish growth are typical symptoms.
A youngster may omit one or more whole food groups from their small list of permitted foods.
Weight loss, dietary deficits, abnormal growth patterns, and social anxiety might result from this.
ARFID may have started as a result of a food-related trauma, which could include an unpleasant eating event like choking, gagging, or vomiting.
Ms. Barnes eventually found items that were safe for her to eat.
However, her parents didn’t understand that she was hungry during the day and couldn’t seem to stomach any food until she was around ten years old.
Although Ms. Barnes acknowledged that something was off, she insisted that it wasn’t anorexia because she hadn’t planned to maintain a low weight.
She saw a psychiatrist at the age of 19, at which point he diagnosed her with ARFID.
As to the eating disorder charity Beat, individuals with eating disorders consume a very small number of meals that do not make them feel extremely repulsed.
It differs from disorders like bulimia and anorexia because it has nothing to do with body image.
Rather, it is more of a bodily dislike to food.
Those who have ARFID are extremely sensitive to the flavour, texture, aroma, and look of specific meals, rather than merely being picky eaters.
Certain foods may cause them to gag, choke, or experience anxiety or agitation.
They might thus find it difficult to eat enough calories to keep up a healthy weight, experience nutritional inadequacies, or perhaps require tube feedings.
Growth retardation can also be a problem for kids with ARFID.
The disorder wasn’t officially identified until 2013 when it was included to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is commonly considered to be the “bible” of psychiatrists.
Basic carbs including bread, dry cereals, chips, cookies, chocolate, and yoghurt are usually the only foods consumed by people with ARFID.
A TikTok video of Ms Barnes attempting to eat a sausage has a caption expressing her concern that if she looks at or thinks about certain foods, she would ‘choke, or vomit, or perhaps die’.
She wrote, “I know I won’t, but I can’t get my body to stomach it.”
“I feed myself like a toddler,” stated Ms. Barnes.
“I snack on plain food like chicken, turkey, crackers, plain Greek yoghurt, and frozen things like ice cream and ice lollies throughout the day.”
Because most fruits and vegetables are grown in the ground, I feel that they are safe to consume.
I can also tolerate most of them.
“Foods like rice pudding, chicken wings because they’re stringy, ribs and red meat because it’s the worst for having chunks of fat on it are things that I absolutely cannot eat,” she continued.
Because I can’t handle all the varied textures, foods like stuffed peppers and pizza with a tonne of toppings also terrify me.
Mayonnaise, chunky salad dressings, and sauces containing peppers and onions are off limits to me.
Help for ARFID is quite hard to come by due of its specialised nature.
Prior to receiving a diagnosis, I was unaware of its existence.
Many times, people assume that I am just a finicky eater, but I don’t eat something because I don’t enjoy it.
It’s because I fear I will become ill from it.
As of right now, Ms. Barnes is waiting to receive therapy.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure to foods that cause ARFID, and anxiety management training are a few possible treatments.
According to Beat, medication may also be suggested to lessen anxiousness.
She is living in the interim by consuming foods that she is aware she can take.
“I eat for the sake of survival, not for enjoyment like most people,” she continued.
Due to the fact that I never wake up hungry, I usually miss breakfast.
I also don’t eat much during the day unless my mother prepares something I can eat.
Around five o’clock in the evening, I start to get hungry.
If I’m at work, I’ll have a basic taco from Taco Bell or a Subway sandwich on plain white bread with turkey, cucumber, lettuce and black olives.
I’ll have basic pasta, fruit salad, or an English muffin or bagel with butter if I’m at home.
Recalling that she requires nutrition and making sure she is “gaining weight” and “then maintaining the gained weight,” according to Ms. Barnes, is one of her toughest problems.
“I am also severely anaemic,” she remarked.
I have been underweight for as long as I can remember, which worries me since I don’t want to need a feeding tube, and no matter how much sleep I get, I constantly feel weary.
I also get dizzy when I get up.