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Los Angeles clinic pilots Severe Picky Eating Recovery program

11/15/23 03:30:pm

Rogers’ Los Angeles clinic is now treating patients ages 8 to 18 for severe picky eating with a focus on Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). As of November 1, the clinic opened four slots for the partial hospitalization program.

ARFID involves an extreme avoidance or low intake of food. A major difference between ARFID and other eating disorders is that people with ARFID are not typically worried about changes in weight, and eating problems are not driven by body image concerns.

ARFID presents in different ways and can develop at any point in life. For some people, a highly selective pattern of eating starts in early childhood, with avoidance of specific foods or new foods due to texture or taste. This restrictive pattern may make it hard to eat in various social settings or impact growth and development. ARFID can also start with a negative experience surrounding a particular food, such as an episode of choking or vomiting.

Other conditions that impact appetite may also lead to ARFID, since with certain medical conditions, people don’t feel normal hunger cues.

“This population of patients often gets lost when it comes to treatment,” says Jennifer Park, PhD, psychologist, executive director of outpatient clinical services. “Patients exhibit symptoms of eating disorders and OCD, and the reality is, they fall somewhere in the middle.”

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