Text Link

Learn more about the results we get at Within

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Learn more about the results we get at Within

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

ARFID treatment at home

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a common eating disorder, though not widely understood. People who struggle with this condition refuse to eat or show little interest in eating due to disinterest in food, sensory issues with certain foods, or an intense fear of choking or throwing up after eating. (6)

Frequently, ARFID is confused with picky eating, especially as it is primarily first noticed in younger people or children. (6) But once a proper diagnosis has been made, it's possible for people of all ages to receive ARFID treatment at home.

5
 minute read
Last updated on 
May 29, 2024
ARFID treatment at home
In this article

What is ARFID treatment at home?

It's long been possible for patients to receive some support in overcoming eating disorders at home. Traditionally, patients would use workbooks to help guide them through therapy modules and occasional meetings with a mental health professional over the phone or in person.

However, the internet has allowed for much more robust home treatment for eating disorders and made many levels of care available for many more people.

Many programs can now be offered through a combination of websites, apps, and texts, among other digital options, with patients receiving live guidance from a therapist, psychiatrist, or other member of their treatment team rather than working through a workbook independently.

Within offers remote treatment for ARFID in over 35 states. Learn more about the type of experience you can expect.

Treatment at Within

ARFID treatment at home for adults, teens, and children will likely include these therapy sessions and meetings with nutritional counselors to help instill healthy eating patterns and work toward changing restrictive eating habits.

Benefits of ARFID treatment at home

ARFID treatment at home has several benefits, chief among them the expansion of mental health services to those who may live far from in-person treatment facilities, those with challenges around mobility or transportation, and those whose schedules or social obligations may make more intensive in-person treatment difficult.

Many telehealth programs are also more cost-effective than in-person care.

And while virtual at-home treatment for eating disorders is still relatively new, it's already shown promising results. Studies have found that a course of virtual outpatient treatment for eating disorders was just as effective as in-person treatment in most cases.3 other mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance use—which are often related to eating disorders of all kinds—have also been shown to respond well to online at-home care.2,4

While ARFID is commonly diagnosed earlier on in life, ARFID treatment at home for adults is also available. It can be helpful for those who are struggling with this condition while juggling greater social responsibilities.

ARFID treatment at home

A remote program tailored to you

Online therapy sessions
Meal kit deliveries
Remote vitals monitoring

We will help get the most out of your insurance.

Drawbacks of ARFID treatment at home

Still, at-home treatment for ARFID or other eating disorders is not a silver bullet. In some cases, this method of treatment may not be advisable.

It is not recommended that you try ARFID treatment at home if you suffer from:1

  1. Fainting spells
  2. Low blood pressure or a persistently low heart rate
  3. You’re chronically dehydrated
  4. Significant hair loss

This is not a comprehensive list of issues that may make in-person care more beneficial. It's essential to speak with your doctor or therapist to better understand the best course of action for you or your loved one.

{{link-bank-two-column}}

How to treat ARFID at home

Treating ARFID at home is easier than it may seem. The process usually starts with contacting your primary care physician, therapist, or other medical professional. They can offer you an official diagnosis and guide you in the direction of a helpful online program.

You'll then fill out an intake form. Make sure to answer honestly, as this will help the program understand the level of care you may best fit.

The treatment usually involves counseling and nutritional guidance, working with preferred foods at first and expanding from there to help someone regain a healthy weight and keep other ARFID symptoms at bay. Some patients may also benefit from group therapy sessions, where they can discuss their experiences with others who've gone through similar struggles.

Your doctor may also prescribe medication if you have overwhelming anxiety or depression symptoms that make it difficult for you to eat. The treatment for ARFID can be effective and long-lasting if it's done right.

Disclaimer about "overeating": Within Health hesitatingly uses the word "overeating" because it is the term currently associated with this condition in society, however, we believe it inherently overlooks the various psychological aspects of this condition which are often interconnected with internalized diet culture, and a restrictive mindset about food. For the remainder of this piece, we will therefore be putting "overeating" in quotations to recognize that the diagnosis itself pathologizes behavior that is potentially hardwired and adaptive to a restrictive mindset.

Disclaimer about weight loss drugs: Within does not endorse the use of any weight loss drug or behavior and seeks to provide education on the insidious nature of diet culture. We understand the complex nature of disordered eating and eating disorders and strongly encourage anyone engaging in these behaviors to reach out for help as soon as possible. No statement should be taken as healthcare advice. All healthcare decisions should be made with your individual healthcare provider.

Resources

  1. Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, Golden, N. H., Katzman, D. K., Sawyer, S. M., Ornstein, R. M., Rome, E. S., Garber, A. K., Kohn, M., & Kreipe, R. E. (2015). Position Paper of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine: medical management of restrictive eating disorders in adolescents and young adults. The Journal of Adolescent Health: Official Publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 56(1), 121–125.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). What is Telemental Health? National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed December 2023.
  3. Steiger, H., Booij, L., Crescenzi, O., Oliverio, S., Singer, I., Thaler, L., St-Hilaire, A., & Israel, M. (2022). In-person versus virtual therapy in outpatient eating-disorder treatment: A COVID-19 inspired study. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 55(1), 145–150.
  4. American Psychological Association. (n.d.). How well is telepsychology working? Monitor on Psychology. Accessed December 2023.
  5. Psychotherapy: Understanding group therapy. (n.d.). American Psychological Association. Accessed December 2023.
  6. Thomas, J. J., Lawson, E. A., Micali, N., Misra, M., Deckersbach, T., & Eddy, K. T. (2017). Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: a Three-Dimensional Model of Neurobiology with Implications for Etiology and Treatment. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(8), 54.

FAQs

What is ARFID?

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a type of eating disorder where people avoid eating certain foods and experience distress when attempting to eat specific foods or while navigating situations related to food. Food avoidance is often severe, to the point where someone is not meeting their nutritional needs.

Unlike nearly all other eating disorders, there is no body image disturbance driving these behaviors.6

What is the treatment for ARFID?

ARFID is commonly treated through a combination of individual and group therapy and nutritional counseling. Younger patients may also benefit from family-based therapy, which involves other household members to help create an environment at home conducive to recovery.

If you or someone in your life has ARFID, it's important to seek help from a professional. Contact our clinical care team at Within to learn more about resources available in your area.

Does ARFID treatment at home work?

While every case is different, ARFID treatment at home can work. Studies have shown that at-home treatment for eating disorders can be just as effective as in-person treatment.6

Still, some more severe cases may benefit from more intensive in-person care. Speaking to a doctor before enrolling in a virtual program is essential.

Further reading

Binge eating recovery

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States, characterized by...

ARFID treatment at home

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a common eating disorder, though not widely understood...

How to treat eating disorders at home

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that affect millions of people around the world. In...

Do I have ARFID?

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a serious mental health condition that involves a...

Bulimia treatment at home

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder characterized by cycles of binge eating and purging, with these...

Anorexia home treatment

Treating anorexia nervosa (AN) is often a tricky prospect. While weight restoration and recovery from this...

Eating disorder support groups: Finding healing in community

Eating disorders like binge eating disorder (BED), anorexia nervosa (AN), and bulimia nervosa (BN), can be...

Comparing the different levels of care in eating disorder treatment

While all eating disorders are serious mental health conditions, eating disorder symptoms may present at...

Bulimia self-help recovery

Like other eating disorders, bulimia nervosa (BN) has the power to significantly affect a person’s life and...

10 ways to be gentle with yourself during eating disorder recovery

Eating disorder behaviors are often characterized by profound shame, guilt, and isolation. Eating disorder...

Overcoming food aversion

Food aversion is an intense dislike of a particular food. People may experience this emotion with foods...

How to choose the best eating disorder treatment program for your needs

When it comes to choosing an eating disorder treatment program, people’s specific needs may vary. A program...

Practicing mindfulness and mindful eating

The practice of mindfulness originated through Buddhist meditation, but its introduction into Western...

The health benefits of pet ownership

Coming home to a fur baby or animal companion can feel like coming home to unconditional love. And the...

How chanting helps with meaningful living

Chanting is a type of meditation that has been part of human behavior for thousands of years, practiced by...

Meditation and eating disorder recovery

Practicing meditation can help with internal healing by offering the opportunity to bring mind, body, and...

ARFID in adults

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder (previously known as selective...

How yoga can improve mental health & help with eating disorder recovery

Practiced for thousands of years, yoga has long been heralded for its potential to improve mental, physical...

Eating disorder recovery and meaningful living

Eating disorder recovery is an incredibly personal and vulnerable journey, and everyone’s process may look...

The importance of intersectionality in eating disorder treatment and research

Eating disorders affect people of all genders, sexual orientations, races, cultures, weights, sizes, and...

Therapy for eating disorders

Overcoming an eating disorder can be a long and challenging journey. But there are many types of therapy...

Exposure therapy for eating disorders

Exposure therapy is a type of therapy used to treat eating disorders, phobias, and anxiety. It is typically...

Learn about eating disorder treatment

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that can impact all aspects of someone's physical...

Aftercare for eating disorders

When you approach the end of your residential or partial hospital program...

How to find a therapist for eating disorders

Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge eating disorder (BED) are...

Helpful interventions for eating disorders

If you suspect your loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, it can...

Trauma-informed care for eating disorders

There is a strong link between eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa...

Examining ARFID vs. anorexia

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) and anorexia nervosa (AN) share...

Benefits of group therapy for eating disorders

Group therapy, sometimes called group psychotherapy, is not a specific type of therapy but rather a term to...

What to look for in a quality eating disorder treatment program

With so many eating disorder treatment programs available today, both...

What causes ARFID avoidant restrictive food intake disorder?

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is one of the rare eating disorders...

Exercise addiction treatment & recovery

Exercise addiction is an eating disorder that can do serious damage to the body, with up...

Night eating syndrome treatment

Night eating syndrome (NES) may not be as well-known as other eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and...

Treatment of pregorexia, pregnancy-related eating disorders

Pregnancy-related eating disorders, also called pregorexia, encompass any eating disorders...

Orthorexia treatment plan

Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is a serious eating disorder that can be very tricky to detect, as...

Diabulimia treatment & recovery

Diabulimia is a complex eating disorder that involves the deliberate underuse or restriction of insulin in...

Anorexia nervosa treatment therapy options with proven results

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious mental health condition that manifests in a number of physical, mental...

Bulimia treatment therapy plans with proven results

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is a dangerous and potentially deadly disorder, affecting someone’s mental, physical...

How to find a binge eating disorder treatment plan

Treatment plans for binge eating disorder (BED)—or other eating disorders and mental health conditions—are...

ARFID treatment: avoidant restrictive food intake disorder

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder that involves a severely limited...

Treating ARFID and autism

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder that involves extreme picky eating...

Signs and symptoms of ARFID

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder where...

Self-help and eating disorder treatment

The role of professional help in eating disorder recovery should not be discounted. Disordered eating...

Partial hospitalization programs for eating disorders

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are highly-structured day therapy programs that can be used for...

Intensive outpatient treatment for eating disorders

While all eating disorders are serious mental health conditions, symptoms span a spectrum of severity. To...

Inpatient care for eating disorders

Mental health conditions of all types, including eating disorders, occur on a spectrum of severity...

The essentials of exercise bulimia recovery

Exercise bulimia is not as frequently talked about or as well understood as other eating disorders. But...

Group therapy for eating disorder treatment

Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that have deep impacts on many people. By some...

ARFID eating disorder: Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, or ARFID, is an eating disorder that...

The role of the care partner in ED recovery

Struggling with an eating disorder can be a lonely and isolating experience...

The importance of community during eating disorder recovery

Often, stories of eating disorder recovery focus on the individual, what they have achieved, and how they...

Further reading

No items found.