Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) was recently added to the Feeding and Eating Disorders section of DSM-5 to describe children, adolescents, and adults who cannot meet their nutritional needs, typically because of sensory sensitivity, fear of aversive consequences, and/or apparent lack of interest in eating or food.
ARFID is so new that there is currently no evidence-based treatment for the disorder. We have recently developed and manualized a novel treatment—Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ARFID (CBT-AR)—that we have been studying Massachusetts General Hospital in the United States (funded by the American Psychological Foundation and the Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation).
CBT-AR can be offered in an individual or family-supported format and comprises four stages:
(1) psychoeducation and early change;
(2) treatment planning;
(3) addressing maintaining mechanisms (including sensory sensitivity, fear of aversive consequences, and/or apparent lack of interest in eating or food); and
(4) relapse prevention over 20-30 sessions.
Our team has published in the New England Journal of Medicine a case report describing the successful treatment of an 11- year-old girl with CBT-AR, and we are actively recruiting CBT-AR trial participants from our ongoing National Institute of Mental Health- funded grant on children and young adults with ARFID entitled “Neurobiological and Behavioral Risk Mechanisms of Youth Avoidant/Restrictive Eating Trajectories” (R01MH108595). Early data from our efficacy study indicates that, on average, patients who receive CBT-AR add 17 novel foods, gain 12 lbs (if underweight), and significantly reduce food neophobia and food fussiness after treatment completion.
This workshop combines both didactic and interactive components, we will share therapy tapes, conduct role plays, and discuss cases from our forthcoming book Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: Children, Adolescents, and Adults (Cambridge University Press, 2018).