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Do I have an eating disorder?

I'm afraid I have an eating disorder. I've looked stuff up and I'm sure I have ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. When I was a child, I was super picky with food. I wouldn't eat most food, and during elementary school and sixth grade, I never ate breakfast and would go days without lunch and/or dinner. When I became a teenager, I started going days without no food at all, days with only one meal, and days with only two meals. I almost never had three meals a day, and sometimes, when I ate two meals a day, often it would be small meals, never anything more than maybe one hamburger, sometimes even less. Last year I would go days without eating, telling myself it was because I didn't want to make my mom go get me food. I'm often not interested in food, an example is when say I get two of the same food from a restaurant, and the first one is super good but I don't eat the second one, despite being hungry, just because I lost interest in eating it. I've thrown up at least seven to eight times this year, five of those times were in just two months. I'm low on fiber and protein, I'm often lethargic, sometimes I have too much energy and other times I don't have any. I'm often very tired, no matter how much I sleep. I'm taking a medication that has sleepiness as a side effect, but even decreasing that didn't stop me from falling asleep in my classes, and now I'm realizing maybe it's just because I was so lethargic from how little I was eating. When I was 10, there was maybe 100 different foods I'd eat, and I'd usually only eat around 20 at a given time. Now there's only around 50-60 foods I'll eat, and I'll usually only eat 10 of them at any given time. I'll only eat certain textures of food, and some foods I won't even touch, despite never eating them before, just because I have such bad experiences with trying new food. I often wear hoodies to keep myself warm and I get cold easily, which is startling since I live in Florida and it's summer, so it's usually 85-95 degrees a day (29.4 to 35 degrees Celsius). I often have no appetite, despite having an awful hunger. I have no fear of weight gain, nor do I have any self-confidence issues due to my weight or size. I'm rather thin with just a little pudge on my stomach, I'm 12 pounds under the average weight for a girl of my age, and I never seem to go over 105 pounds (47.6 kilograms). I dramatically restrict myself to a certain amount of foods, and I usually lose a total of 8-11 pounds a week (I'll gain back at least half of all of that every week as well). My weight is constantly fluctuating, going from 102 pounds one day to 105 pounds the next and then down again to 103 (46.2 kg to 47.6 kg to 46.7 kg).
I honestly think I have ARFID, but since my mom refuses to believe I have an eating disorder and just insists I'm a picky eater and nothing more, I haven't consulted anyone. But I need to know, do I possibly have ARFID, or am I just a picky eater?
1 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
Well, eating disorders fall under the category of mental health.  And they often involve things like controlling through food and not just having a low appetite or being a picky eater.  How would you feel if you gained weight?  Emotionally fine?  

I've looked up ARFID.  To be honest, I'd say my son has this.  He has sensory integration disorder and has difficulty with temperature, appearance, and texture of food along with smell. He has motor planning issues and learning to chew was difficult for him and he gagged and choked a lot in the preschool years. This has left a lasting impression on him.   We've described him as picky his entire life since age 1.  Always has been.  Certain things he will not eat.  Nutritionally we have to work on it with him.  He's been to an eating specialist.  The sensory or nervous system issues make eating 'anything' a challenge so he has a diet built around being healthy with things he WILL eat.  Maybe he has ARFID but it doesn't impact his life all that much or is that big of a deal.

If you are healthy, of healthy weight, have energy, getting proper nutrition, I am inclined to say that this probably doesn't matter all that much.  If it is impacting your life negatively, then it would be something to follow up on with your doctor.  

While Arfid is in the DSM as an eating disorder, it would only be a disorder if it is causing you issues in your life.  You are near normal weight.  You are not suffering health consequences.  My son has been diagnosed with sensory integration disorder because it impacted his life significantly.  But lots of people have sensory issues . . . a 'touch' of it and live pretty normally.  Does this really interfere with things in your life?  People that have this are often dependent on liquid food and nutritional supplement drinks.  They have 'failure to thrive' and things like that.  They suffer issues with nutritional deficits that impact organs.  


I'm not downplaying your feelings about this.  But would say that perhaps just asking to speak with a counselor would be better than insisting you have an eating disorder with your mom. She may go with the idea that you could use someone to talk to and during those sessions, you can talk about your eating.  


There is a book you may want to get called 'food chaining'.  We went to an eating specialist for my son due to his picky eating . . .  common with kids who have neurological issues and this is the template we used to help increase my son's ability to eat different foods, to expand his food list.  

Good luck




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