National Eating Disorders Association

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I think I have ARFID

I am a 21 year old male with an eating disorder that is ruining my social life.
I can only eat a very small amount of foods, attempting to try anything outside of what I am comfortable with results in severe gagging and feeling the need to vomit.
Most foods are next to impossible to eat. Most vegetables are impossible. I can handle some types of meat if they are prepared simply (i.e. not with any weird sauce or mixed with anything).
At the moment I pretty much live on fast food chains. If I had no social life then I would be quite happy to ignore the problem and live on fast food. I am not overweight or underweight, the only issues it is causing are social. Whenever I go out with friends or family I look like an idiot either not eating anything (sometimes I try make up some lame excuse for not eating) or eating very little.
I have been like this since I was a kid, I always thought I would simply "grow out of it" but I'm now 21 and it has only improved very very slightly.
When I was younger (around 10) my parents would pretty much force feed me at the dinner table (i.e. make me stay until I had eaten a certain amount of food which I detested). I fought my way through this stage, eventually devising strategies of removing food from my plate. I sometimes wonder whether this stage of my life has traumatized me causing the issues I am now faced with. It was a big deal for me as a kid at the time.
Does anyone have anything or know anyone that has something similar to this? Any suggestions as to where to start to fix this issue?

Post Edit

Hi matthew77, welcome to the forum and thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. I just wanted to let you know that your post has been modified to remove any words and food items that might be triggering to the other forum participants. You can find our forum guidelines here: Please keep posting!

Find a Good Male Therapist Whom May Just Click and Relate to You

I say male because Male Eating Disorders are more specialized in therapy than female general societal roles of the female and expected.

Males are more specific. I had a female therapist when I was in my early 20's and I have had a male therapist later for my exercise addiction problems too and work anxiety.

I know how both feel, so thats why I recommend you find a good male therapist specializing in eating disorders.

You may need a MD for med supervision over the food anxiety problems and other areas that may require meds supervision...

Good luck in happy healing from your Ed...

re: I think I have ARFID

Hey matthew77--welcome to the forums! You've come to the right place for support and it's so great that you're reaching out about this. It takes a lot of self-awareness and courage to admit when something's wrong, so kudos on that.

First of all, you're definitely not alone. I have not personally struggled with what you're describing, but I've read many similar stories here on the forums. Second, I'm so sorry to hear about how these eating behaviors are impacting your ability to enjoy life. Have you talked to anyone about what's going on? It sounds like your parents are probably familiar with your behaviors, but perhaps they're so used to it at this point that it's not registering to them as a problem. Any kind of ED is very difficult to face alone, so my first piece of advice is always to confide in a loved one--if not your parents, maybe a sibling, teacher, cousin, friend?

I would also encourage you to take NEDA's ED screening test, although bear in mind that it's just a screening and not a formal diagnosis (you'll need to work with a professional for that): But regardless of what the results tell you, I'd say based on your description, it's definitely time to seek help and start improving your quality of life--it sounds like it's been long enough! The next step would be finding affordable treatment options in your area, which NEDA can help you with: If you're not having any luck online, you can also contact the NEDA Helpline via phone or chat and talk directly with a trained volunteer who can assist you:

In the meantime, I'd encourage you to learn everything you can about ARFID! NEDA has a bunch of great resources here on the website that can help get you started:

General info about ARFID:

Blog posts about ARFID

Please keep us posted on your progress and remember two important things: You're not alone, and recovery is possible! (I'm proof, four years!)

I also think I have ARFID

I am a thirteen year old girl and I have always been a very picky eater. I went through a phase just like matthew77 where my parents would leave me at the table until I ate, though they don't notice me not eating anymore. I try to eat 3 meals a day but just forget about it until my mom asks me if I've eaten. When I start to eat I (almost immediately) feel full and don't think I can finish it. I have a serious fear of vomiting that can also contribute to my lack of eating. I only really like eating things that involve way to much sugar, but I know I can't do that forever. I just don't know if this is serious enough to talk to someone about or if it's just a minor thing I'll eventually get over.


Hi lauren10013! The NEDA Helpline may be able to help out with talking about your concerns and finding resources. The Helpline can be reached at 800.931.2237 or chat with them online ( M-TH 9-9 EST and F 9-5 EST. We hope it can be of help to you. Hope you find support and stay strong! 


Do you have any type of therapist or anybody professional to whom you can talk that might be able to guide you through this? I think that might be your best bet in order to get some solid answers. I hope you are able to get some help in this way because this definitely is not an easy path to travel and it's also not an easy diagnosis. Best wishes on your road to recovery and I hope that you continue to keep us updated.

I think I might have ARFID as well

<p>Hi, I am a thirteen year old girl and for about a year or so I realized I don't eat that much. I used to love all of these foods as a little girl, but one by one I lost interest in a lot of those foods. I don't like meat anymore, hence why I have low iron. I only eat light snacks in order to keep away the hunger. I hate foods with specific textures. I eat very slowly in fear of choking. I'm always cold. I am underweight. No matter how hard I try to gain weight, I cannot. My dad always says "you better eat before you end up in the hospital." I need help and I doubt my parents would let me consult anyone. That is why I am writing on here</p>

Edited your comment

Hi Awoongi. We edited your comment to remove mentions of BMI numbers, which are not allowed on the forums and could be triggering to other users. You can review our community guidelines hereAdditionally, you mentioned some concerning symptoms in your post for which you may want to seek medical attention. The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention: •accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury •become suicidal •confused thinking and is not making any sense •delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there) •disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are •vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea •experiencing dizziness or fainting spells •too weak to walk or collapses •painful muscle spasms •complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing •blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit •a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16 •an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute) •cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees Fahrenheit. If you experience any of the above, we highly recommend that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Another option is 911. Seek medical help soon on an outpatient basis if you: •have significant heartburn and/or a burning sensation after eating •have other gastrointestinal concerns •have high blood pressure •struggle with significant joint or muscle pain •have difficulty sleeping (falling and/or remaining asleep) •struggle with fatigue, sudden weight gain, and/or hair loss •have frequent urination or unquenchable thirst •have gained and lost significant weight repeatedly •have gained significant weight in a short period of time •struggle with chronic diarrhea or constipation. Please know that the NEDA Helpline can be reached at 800.931.2237 or chat with them online ( M-TH 9-9 EST and F 9-5 EST. We hope it can be of help to you. Thanks for your understanding and please continue to post!  

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