Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder Ottawa, ON | The Balanced Practice Inc

ARFID - Your Recovery is Possible!
The Balanced Practice is Here to Help.

Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder Ottawa, ON | The Balanced Practice Inc

At The Balanced Practice, we are committed to eradicating eating disorders and proving the power of healing. We support folks of all genders and ages who are ready to recover from their eating disorder. Recovering from ARFID is not easy, however it is possible, and you deserve recovery.

Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (often referred to as ARFID) is a complex and potentially life-threatening eating disorder that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. ARFID is a restrictive type of eating disorder that interferes with the person’s ability to meet their body’s nutritional needs adequately and safely.

Subtypes of ARFID | The Balanced Practice Inc | Counselling Clinic Ottawa

There are currently 3 subtypes of ARFID:

Subtypes of ARFID | The Balanced Practice Inc | Counselling Clinic Ottawa
  • Lack of food interest/hunger cues: This is a biological predisposition where the person impacted experiences a neurotransmitter imbalance that creates low interest in food, low satisfaction with food, and low hunger.
  • Sensory sensitivity: This is a biological predisposition where the person impacted has an increased sensory experience of textures and/or flavors which can lead to food aversions.
  • Fear-based restrictions: This is when the food restriction is linked to fear and anxiety regarding food consumption that may be linked to past trauma, pre-existing anxiety, and increased interoceptive awareness.

Although ARFID is commonly known to be an eating disorder with no body image challenges, this is not always the case in our experience at The Balanced Practice. Folks with ARFID may also struggle with body changes and fear of weight gain.

What Are The Factors That Lead To ARFID? | The Balanced Practice Inc

What Are the Factors That Lead To ARFID?

What Are The Factors That Lead To ARFID? | The Balanced Practice Inc

There is not one factor that leads to the development of ARFID. The onset is often impacted by various factors, such as:

  • Biological: Genetic predisposition, neurodivergence (ADHD, autism)
  • Psychological: Personality traits, OCD, anxiety
  • Sociocultural: Thin ideal, weight stigmas, pressure to eat a certain way
  • Environmental: Childhood trauma, family dynamics, influence of peers, trauma associated with food.

One thing is clear though, it is not your fault, and you did not choose this.

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Facts about ARFID:

Laptop Logo | The Balanced Practice Inc | Counselling Clinic Ottawa
  • Folks of all body sizes can have ARFID
  • Folks of all genders and all ages can develop ARFID
  • Folks with ARFID can also struggle with body image
  • ARFID is not a phase. Folks don’t just grow out of it.
  • A multidisciplinary approach to treatment is required to recover from ARFID
ARFID Treatment Ottawa, ON | The Balanced Practice Inc | Counselling Clinic Ottawa

How Do We Treat ARFID?

ARFID Treatment Ottawa, ON | The Balanced Practice Inc | Counselling Clinic Ottawa

Recovery from ARFID is possible with the right treatment and support. Your experience with ARFID is unique, and your treatment needs to reflect your uniqueness. There is no one-size-fits-all to recovery.

The initial stages of treatment for ARFID will often include nutrition rehabilitation (with safe foods), body safeness, emotion regulation (distress tolerance), and medical stability.

As you progress in treatment, your team will support you with building confidence with food and your body while addressing any maintaining factors and any underlying issues. The team will work with you to meet your recovery goals.

At The Balanced Practice, we are committed to helping individuals overcome ARFID and live a recovered life. Our approach is weight-inclusive, anti-carceral, evidence-based, lived experience-informed, and collaborative. You are at the center of care, always. We aim to create a space where you can feel seen, heard, understood, and empowered to achieve your recovery goals.

Our Treatment Approach ARFID | The Balanced Practice Inc | Counselling Clinic Ottawa

Our Comprehensive Treatment Plan for ARFID

Our Treatment Approach ARFID | The Balanced Practice Inc | Counselling Clinic Ottawa

At The Balanced Practice, we offer comprehensive treatment which can include individualized care (with a registered dietitian and therapist who specialize in the treatment of ARFID), group therapy, meal support, family support, and all care coordination. You don’t have to recover alone we are here to help you and be your support system along the way.

To learn more about how we support folks across Ontario in their recovery, check out our Eating Disorder Recovery Program™ page.