National Eating Disorders Association

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Please please help me - son getting worse

Hi am new to this forum, my son is 14 and has ARFID. He's had it since he was 3 and it's just an absolute nightmare. I'm out of strength and hope and totally defeated, literally don't know what to write...


Hi, welcome to the forums! I'm so glad you found us, and hope we can help. I'm so sorry to hear that your son has been struggling for so long...I can't imagine the toll that has taken on all of you. Have you reached out to doctors or other medical professionals like therapists for advice at all? It is my understanding that there are different reasons behind a child's AFRID, do you know what his is? (is it sensory, fear of eating, aversions to certain foods, etc). Im not a professional, but my suggestion, if you havent already, would be to seek some kind of outside help such as therapy. It might be beneficial, not only to take some of the burden off of you - because I can totally understand that you feel drained - but to get him on a path to healthier eating by determining the root cause of his behaviors. I hope that's helpful, keep us posted!



I am so sorry to hear about your son. Just know that you are not alone. It is so easy to feel that way. It is so heart wrenching to see your child struggle. Hope is so powerful. Keep searching for those who can help him. Also please remember yourself. It is hard at times to take care of ourselves when our child is in crisis. I lost myself for about a year when my daughter was so entrenched in ED. Others were very worried about me, I just was so overwhelmed, stressed, fearful, exhausted and I felt that it was my job to do everything right so she would recover. I finally got my own therapist who helped me out a lot. My marriage is stronger. I am so much happier, I am able to give of myself to all of my 6 kids. I would urge you to take care of yourself and to take time each day to enjoy moments. In even dark times and hard days, there are little moments that can touch our souls and give us joy. For me it is a beautiful sunset, watching my kids hang out together, holding hands with my husband, making chocolates, or seeing a child smile.
I would love to hear how you are and how things are going.


Welcome to forums! Have you tried the helpline yet? They may be able to set you up with some resources that may help you with your son. The NEDA Helpline is available Monday-Thursday from 9AM to 9PM ET, and Friday from 9AM to 5PM ET. Their number is 1-800-931-2237
I hope you find the great help for your son soon!


ARFID in boys is often easy to treat, but you need professional help. A residential or partial hospitalization program will change his life, and the entire family dynamics. Good luck!!


<p>Just curious why you think ARFID in boys is often easy to treat? My 15-year-old son has been struggling with ARFID for 3 years. He has seen multiple doctors and therapists, and has been in intensive inpatient treatment twice (once out of state because there is no facility in our state that takes boys). We have spent tens of thousands of dollars on his treatment, and he continues his ED behaviors. We have done everything we think of- therapy, medication, treatment- and nothing seems to work over the long term. It has been 3 years that we have lived like this, and it has been anything but easy- in fact, it has been a nightmare. We have so many questions and very few answers. We still don't know why he does this, though we are pretty certain it is tied to his chronic anxiety, which we are also trying to treat. At this point, we have been forced to the conclusion that though we will continue to do all we can, there is only so much you can try to do with little to no results and not feel like a complete failure as a parent.</p>

As parents we must continue

I'm sorry to hear you have not seen more progress in your son's ED. It's so difficult as parents to see our children suffer, and being unable to do more for them or affect more change. It doesn't at all mean that you are a failure as a parent. We can't control the ED. We can't even understand where it comes from or why it stays. We can only do our best for our children and you are doing that. You said so yourself when you concluded that you must continue to do all that you can, regardless of results. On some level your son understands you are there for him, behind him, supporting him, in his battle against ED. I wish you the best in continuing to be there for your son. You are not alone and please don't ever give up hope.


Hi, we slightly edited your post to remove language about specific behaviors or content that could be triggering to others. You can find our forum guidelines here: Please keep sharing!