Charity Sees ‘Dramatic Increase’ in People Seeking Help for Eating Disorder

Charity Sees ‘Dramatic Increase’ in People Seeking Help for Eating Disorder

Specialist treatment should be provided for people with an eating disorder which makes them avoid certain foods, a charity has said. It comes amid a “dramatic increase” in people seeking help for ARFID, or avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. Patients with ARFID usually avoid certain foods or limit what they eat, and the eating disorder can occur in children, teenagers and adults. This can happen for a number of reasons, including sensitivity to tastes, textures, or smells, distressing experiences while eating such as choking, and low interest in food.

Eating disorder charity Beat said its helpline received more than 2,000 phone calls in 2023 – 10% of the total – from people seeking support for ARFID. The figure is up from 295 calls in 2018. Andrew Radford, chief executive of Beat, described the spike as “extremely worrying”. He said: “It’s extremely worrying that there has been such a dramatic increase in those seeking support for ARFID, particularly as specialist care isn’t always readily available. All too often we hear from people who have been unable to get treatment close to home, or have faced waits of months or even years to get the help they need. ARFID is an eating disorder that rarely gets the attention and understanding it needs, and we urge the government to ensure that there is enough specialist provision to meet the needs of those affected.”


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