ARFID (previously known as Selective Eating Disorder or SED) is sometimes also labelled as neo-phobia (or a fear of the new), although I feel this phrase is misleading as most of the clients seen will only tend to have a phobia with certain new foods and nothing else. ARFID is a true phobia that just happens to be associated with foods rather than animals, objects or processes. As such, it is not mere ‘fussy eating’ which tends to just be a conservative stage during most children’s development. Fussy eaters are often merely picky or play on the preferential treatment or special attention they get, but they are not phobic!
Fussy eating therefore does not involve a phobia, so ARFID often gets overlooked and misdiagnosed by doctors and therapists, as they confuse one with the other. In simple terms due to an event or phase in the past, pain has been associated with certain foods and the system refuses to venture past it’s safe foods. The more this situation persists, the greater the belief that one is ‘unable’ to then eat new foods because of the lack of past historical successes. Fortunately speedy help is at hand.
If so then you are suffering from a food phobia. Your system has associated certain foods as unsafe and treats them as if they were a matter of ‘life and death ‘and gone into ‘survival mode’. It will try and avoid having anything to do with those foods at all costs, fretting and dreading the outcome - an anxiety disorder.
“Growing up I knew I wasn't “normal”... I would end up in tears after trying to take a bite out of a strawberry. And my hands would shake and then I would just about manage to bite it and immediately gag and almost vomit. 23 years of doctors, psychotherapists, nutritionists, anxiety counsellors, group therapies, cognitive behavioural therapies, hypnotherapy. 23 years of being told I was just fussy, I was being stubborn, I could eat If I wanted to. 23 years of blood tests, hospital appointments, doctors appointments, and tablets... One year ago today I had that appointment. And I have never looked back. I can finally eat a strawberry without breaking down! My life has literally changed. In the last year my diet has changed more than in the first 23 years. Felix, I literally cannot thank you enough. You have succeeded were many many others have not and changed my life. Xx And I could finally sit down to a Christmas dinner!” Sheree Turvee, Facebook page.
Felix Economakis is the most experienced and proficient Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder practitioner in the world today. At the time of writing (Winter 2021) he has treated over 4000 people with ARFID, and sees about on average two clients per day just for ARFID. As a result of his work on BBC3s 'Freaky Eaters' (all with a 100% success rate), Felix has been sought out for help with ARFID by people from all over the world. For more information on his work with ARFID read this article.
In just a single 2hr session Felix can help you overcome your life long phobia of new foods. Felix believes in testing his work so he will ask his client to bring in 5-6 foods of increasing challenge that they would like to eat but currently cannot. This provides a categorical litmus test to assess change. At present his success rate with adults and older teenagers runs at almost 100%, and with younger children approx. 75% after just one session. For international clients, a Skype session is for AFRID treatment at home also available.