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Selective Eating Disorder : Signs, Causes and Treatment

Selective Eating Disorder : Signs, Causes and Treatment Options

If you’re like most people, you have probably heard of selective eating disorder, but you may not know exactly what it is. Also known as “sensory processing disorder,” this is a condition that affects how people perceive food. People with selective eating disorders will only eat a very small number of foods, and they are often very picky about the textures and flavors of the food that they eat. In this blog post, we will discuss all aspects of selective eating disorder including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What Is a Selective Eating Disorder?

What Is a Selective Eating Disorder?

Selecting which foods to eat can be a challenging and daunting task for many people. For some, it may feel like an impossible feat. This is because they may have a selective eating disorder (SED).

SED is characterized by an avoidance of certain foods due to an irrational fear or dislike of them. People with SED often have very restrictive diets and may only eat a limited number of foods. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight loss. SED is also known as “avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder” (ARFID).

While the exact cause of SED is unknown, it is believed to be related to psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. SED is more common in children and adolescents, but it can also affect adults.

Treatment for SED typically involves a combination of psychotherapy and nutritional counseling. Medications may also be prescribed to help manage anxiety or other disorders that may be associated with SED.

If you or someone you know is struggling with SED, it’s important to seek professional help. SED can be a debilitating disorder, but treatment can help people manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

What Are the Symptoms of Selective Eating Disorder?

What Are the Symptoms of Selective Eating Disorder?

The symptoms of SED can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

Avoidance of Certain Foods  

One of the most prominent symptoms of SED is an avoidance of certain foods. People with SED may have a fear or dislike of certain foods that are irrational and not based on any logical reasoning. This can make it difficult for them to try new foods or eat foods that they don’t normally eat. Sometimes there may be many foods that are avoided, while other times there may only be a few.

Restrictive Diet

People with SED often have very restrictive diets. This means that they eat a limited number of foods and avoid foods that they deem to be unsafe. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight loss. People with SED may also become malnourished if they’re not getting enough nutrients from the foods they are eating.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is a common symptom of SED. This is because people with SED often have restrictive diets and may not be getting enough calories or nutrients from the foods they are eating. Weight loss can also occur due to anxiety or stress related to food avoidance. This weight loss also increases the risk of other health problems such as malnutrition.

Anxiety or Stress Related To Food

Another common symptom of SED is anxiety or stress related to food. This can be due to the fear of trying new foods or encountering avoided foods. It can also be caused by the worry of not getting enough nutrients from the foods that are being eaten. This anxiety and stress can lead to avoidance of social situations where food is present, such as parties or gatherings.

Depression

Depression is another common symptom of SED. This can be caused by the isolation that often occurs with SED. People with SED may avoid social situations and activities due to their fear of food. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.

What Causes Selective Eating Disorders?

What Causes Selective Eating Disorders?

The exact cause of SED is unknown, but it is believed to be related to psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, and trauma.

SED is more common in children and adolescents, but it can also affect adults. It is estimated that 1-2% of the population has SED. Approximately 80% of people with SED are female.

Several risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing SED. These include:

Family history: People with a family history of anxiety, depression, or eating disorders are more likely to develop SED. One of the most common risk factors for SED is having a parent or sibling with an eating disorder. These genetics also make it a heritable disorder.

Anxiety: People with anxiety disorders are more likely to develop SED. It is believed that the anxiety associated with SED may be caused by a fear of trying new foods or encountering avoided foods.

Depression: People with depression are also more likely to develop SED. Depression is a common symptom of SED, and it is believed that the two conditions may be linked.

Trauma: Traumatic experiences, such as abuse or neglect, can increase the risk of developing SED. It is believed that trauma can lead to avoidance of certain foods due to the association of those foods with the traumatic event.

Medications: An individual’s risk of developing SED may also be increased by certain medications. Medications that have been linked to SED include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers.

What Are The Complications of Selective Eating Disorder?

What Are The Complications of Selective Eating Disorder?

SED can lead to several complications, both physical and mental.

Physical complications:

Malnutrition: One of the most common complications of SED is malnutrition. This is because people with SED often have restrictive diets and may not be getting enough calories or nutrients from the foods they are eating. Malnutrition can lead to several health problems, such as anemia, osteoporosis, and weak immune systems.

Weight loss: Weight loss is another common complication of SED. This can occur due to the restrictive nature of the disorder, as well as the avoidance of certain foods. Weight loss can also occur due to anxiety or stress related to food avoidance. This weight loss also increases the risk of other health problems such as malnutrition.

Anemia: Anemia is a condition in which there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the body. This can be caused by a lack of iron in the diet, which is common in people with SED. Anemia can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to weak and brittle bones. It can be caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D in the diet, which are common deficiencies in people with SED. Osteoporosis can lead to fractures and bone pain.

Mental complications:

Anxiety: Anxiety is a common symptom of SED, and it can also be a complication of the disorder. The anxiety associated with SED can be caused by the fear of trying new foods or encountering avoided foods. This anxiety can lead to avoidance of social situations and activities.

Depression: Depression is another common complication of SED. This can be caused by the isolation that often occurs with SED. People with SED may avoid social situations and activities due to their fear of food. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Depression can also be caused by the nutritional deficiencies associated with SED.

What are the Treatment Options for Selective Eating Disorder?

Treatment for SED typically involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is often used to treat SED. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is effective in treating SED. CBT can help people with SED to change their thoughts and behaviors related to food. It can also help people to learn how to cope with anxiety and stress.

Medication: Medication may also be used to treat SED. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants can be used to treat anxiety and depression. These medications can help people to feel more relaxed and less anxious about food.

Nutritional counseling: Nutritional counseling can also be helpful for people with SED. A registered dietitian can help people with SED to develop a nutritious diet that meets their needs.

Feeding therapy: Feeding therapy is another treatment option for SED. This type of therapy typically involves gradually exposing the person to the avoided foods. The goal of feeding therapy is to help the person to overcome their fear of avoiding foods and to expand their diet.

Hospitalization: In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary. This is typically only necessary if the person with SED is severely malnourished or if they are at risk for other health problems. Sometimes hospitalization is also necessary if the person is not responding to other treatment options.

How Can I Prevent Selective Eating Disorder?

How Can I Prevent Selective Eating Disorder?
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There is no sure way to prevent SED. However, there are some things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disorder.

Some of the things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing SED include:

Eating a variety of foods

One of the main risk factors for SED is a lack of variety in the diet. Eating a variety of foods can help to reduce the risk of developing SED.

Avoiding restrictive diets

Another way to reduce your risk of developing SED is to avoid restrictive diets. These types of diets can often lead to a lack of variety in the diet, which can increase the risk of SED.

Getting treatment for other disorders

If you have another mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression, it is important to get treatment. Treatment can help to reduce the symptoms of these disorders and can also help to prevent them from getting worse.

Exposing yourself to new foods regularly

When you are exposed to new foods regularly, it can help to reduce the fear of trying new foods. This can help to prevent SED from developing. When you are exposed to new foods, it is also important to eat them in a variety of ways. This can help you to become more comfortable with them and can help to reduce the fear of trying new foods.

Trying new foods can be a difficult and scary experience. However, it is important to remember that everyone has different taste buds and that not everyone will like the same foods. It is also important to remember that you don’t have to eat food just because someone else does. If you don’t like food, you can always try it again another time or choose not to eat it at all.

Making sure that you are getting enough nutrients

It is important to make sure that you are getting enough nutrients in your diet. This can help to reduce the risk of developing SED. When you are getting enough nutrients, it is also important to make sure that you are eating a variety of foods. This can help to reduce the risk of developing SED.

If you think that you may have SED, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can help to diagnose the disorder and can also help to provide you with treatment options. Treatment can help to improve the symptoms of SED and can also help to prevent the disorder from getting worse.

Conclusion

Selective eating disorder (SED) is a real, serious condition that can have a significant impact on quality of life. If you or someone you know is struggling with SED, it’s important to seek professional help. With proper treatment, people with SED can learn to enjoy a variety of foods and improve their overall health and well-being.

If you think you might have a selective eating disorder, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you get an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Hope this article was of help to you! If you are suffering from mental health disorders, you may seek help from Therapy Mantra. We have a team of highly trained and experienced therapists who can provide you with the tools and skills necessary for overcoming mental health disorders. Contact us today to schedule an online therapy or download our free Android or iOS app for more information.