Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: Development of Consensus Treatment Guidelines

September 2018

In 2013, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a reformulation of the former DSM-IV diagnosis, feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood. By definition, individuals with ARFID consume an insufficient volume or variety of food, leading to major complications such as low weight, nutrition deficiencies, dependence on tube feeding or oral supplements, and/or psychosocial impairment. Since its addition to the psychiatric nomenclature, practicing clinicians are receiving numerous referrals for ARFID treatment, despite the lack of a clear standard of care. Meanwhile, research on the topic has exploded. Among other groups, Drs. Jennifer Thomas and Kamryn Eddy, the conveners of the seminar, have been fortunate to receive funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to explore the neurobiology of ARFID, as well as from private foundations for a clinical trial of a novel form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The purpose of the seminar is to bring together an interdisciplinary group of 20 faculty and trainees with expertise in ARFID from around the world. Attendees will represent psychology, psychiatry, nutrition, speech and language pathology, adolescent medicine, gastroenterology and primary care, and their clinical and research expertise will span from infancy to older adulthood. This diverse group will be tasked with the development of "Consensus Guidelines for the Assessment and Treatment of ARFID" that will be submitted for publication within 12 months of the conference. The guidelines will then serve as a resource for practicing clinicians.