Treatment for Food Anxiety and ARFID
With food sensitivities, allergies, and global health concerns on the rise, more people are struggling with food-related anxiety than ever before. Maybe you have dietary limitations, health issues, have had negative or traumatic experiences with food, or worry food will make you ill. Maybe the thought of having someone else prepare your food makes you sweat, or eating in a restaurant makes you feel nauseated. After a while, you feel like the fear is controlling you and your world is getting smaller, not to mention less delicious.
Although some symptoms may appear similar, food anxiety is distinct from eating disorders in that the primary focus is not on a person's weight or body image. Food anxiety is not related to size, but rather concern - sometimes grounded in reality - that food will make you feel sick or otherwise harm you. Sometimes food anxiety becomes ARFID, or Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, a serious condition that leads to malnourishment.
Food anxiety and ARFID can affect every area of your life: your relationships, your work, your health, your social life, and your enjoyment of what might once have been a pleasurable experience. You can start to feel isolated, ashamed, and hopeless. But it doesn't have to be that way.
When working with food anxiety and ARFID, I combine traditional talk therapy and trauma treatments such as EMDR, exposure and response prevention, and desensitization. These are evidence-based treatments and can be very powerful when combined. It's also imperative that I coordinate with other professionals such as nutritionists, dietitians, and doctors to make sure you are getting comprehensive, holistic care.
Let's work together to take back your freedom to eat with ease.
See Also: Nutritional Therapy to Support Emotional Health: A Conversation Between Sara Russell, PhD, NTP, and Laurel Roberts-Meese, LMFT
What is food anxiety?
Food anxiety is NOT: