Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Formerly known as selective eating disorder and picky eating disorder

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Our center offers outpatient treatment for individuals of all ages for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, also known as ARFID, selective eating disorder. This disorder is typically described as extremely picky eating.  Typically, we see people and their families who live in close proximity to Duke.  If you do not live near Duke, we are developing a variety of tools to provide medical professional education, as well as support and treatment options to children and adults who suffer from extreme picky eating.

Web-based education and skill practice for all ages who have ARFID and their loved ones

Families who learn about the emotions and perfectionism behind eating disorders, and how to counter those emotions, are better equipped to make continuing, tangible progress. Building knowledge and skills with the support of experts and peers can give families the resilience and long-term strategies they need to help their loved ones while taking of themselves in the process.  Our center is developing a website which will offer:

  • Moderated live online group sessions giving participants the opportunity to interact with other parents facing the same challenges. Parents share ideas and the moderator guides group discussions for maximum benefit to all.  Children connect with other children within their age group for “food adventures”.
  • A moderated message board which enables participants to ask questions and receive an answer within 1 business day.  The content of these dialogues will be monitored to ensure the accuracy of information being shared. 
  • Educational webinars for parents to help understand this eating disorder and develop strategies for managing day-to-day hurdles.
  • Online learning modules, beginning with Off the C.U.F.F., a parent skills manual for parents of children with an eating disorder, written by Nancy Zucker, MD, a child and family psychologist and eating disorder specialist who is the director of the Duke Eating Disorder Center.

Our updated launch date for this website is April, 2017.  Future site planning includes teaching modules and certification for both MDs and mental health care providers on the diagnosis of ARFID and treatment options; education and skills practice for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa will also be added in the future.

Parent weekend workshops

Our Parent Training Weekend Workshop for Selective Eating is designed to be an educational program to provide parents with the knowledge and tools they need to get a jump start on treatment. The next workshop will be held on March 24-25, 2017. Consider this a 'crash course' where we teach parents skills that allow you to support, encourage and reinforce your children as they practice changing their relationship with food.  

The weekend is structured as a series of educational lectures with each lecture followed by a Q&A session with a team member from the Duke Center for Eating Disorders.

In these sessions, we practice what was just discussed in the prior lecture and develop a series of “action items” to implement this new strategy at home.  Here is an example of the two-day workshop schedule and topics.



5-Day immersive family program

Our immersive family program is a comprehensive outpatient treatment program consisting of one, 5-day primary treatment week and post-treatment follow-up offered for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).  The program focuses on helping individuals who are extremely sensitive to their internal and external experience. The goal is to help these individuals manage the intensity of that experience without compromising the vividness and richness of what they feel or limiting the breadth of their options. Here is a sample schedule of our immersive program for the patient and parents. The schedule for adults has slight differences.

We expect this program to be reinstated in early summer of 2017 after our new website has launched.

Contact us

For more information on any of these offerings, please email Mary Kirkley