Purpose: To evaluate the DSM-5 diagnosis of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) in children and adolescents with poor eating not associated with body image concerns.
Methods: A retrospective case-control study of 8-18-year-olds, using a diagnostic algorithm, compared all cases with ARFID presenting to seven adolescent-medicine eating disorder programs in 2010 to a randomly selected sample with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). Demographic and clinical information were recorded.
Results: Of 712 individuals studied, 98 (13.8%) met ARFID criteria. Patients with ARFID were younger than those with AN (n = 98) or BN (n = 66), (12.9 vs. 15.6 vs. 16.5 years), had longer durations of illness (33.3 vs. 14.5 vs. 23.5 months), were more likely to be male (29% vs. 15% vs. 6%), and had a percent median body weight intermediate between those with AN or BN (86.5 vs. 81.0 and 107.5). Patients with ARFID included those with selective (picky) eating since early childhood (28.7%); generalized anxiety (21.4%); gastrointestinal symptoms (19.4%); a history of vomiting/choking (13.2%); and food allergies (4.1%). Patients with ARFID were more likely to have a comorbid medical condition (55% vs. 10% vs. 11%) or anxiety disorder (58% vs. 35% vs. 33%) and were less likely to have a mood disorder (19% vs. 31% vs. 58%).
Conclusions: Patients with ARFID were demographically and clinically distinct from those with AN or BN. They were significantly underweight with a longer duration of illness and had a greater likelihood of comorbid medical and/or psychiatric symptoms.
Keywords: 5th Edition of the diagnostic and statistical Manual (DSM-5); Anorexia nervosa (AN); Avoidant/Restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID); Bulimia nervosa (BN); Children and adolescents.
Copyright © 2014 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.