After flare-ups, IBD patients may have memories of certain foods causing more abdominal pain and trips to the bathroom, or just general discomfort after eating. This may last well after surgery and fears may develop around certain foods. As a result, IBD patients may sometimes develop a condition called Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), in which signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS) are manifested around food that is believed to cause harm. Even after surgery, when the disease is in remission, patients with ARFID avoid these foods rather than focusing on reintroducing foods and opening up their diets safely.
Finding Help For Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
ARFID most often requires intervention by a mental health professional trained in gastrointestinal conditions to help unlearn these eating patterns and confront fears around particular foods. It may also require the involvement of a registered dietitian who can help patients to reintegrate foods slowly and safely into their diet.
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Written by Tina Aswani Omprakash. Medically reviewed and validated by Jordan Axelrad, MD, MPH. These webpages are funded by a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.