Feeling and body investigators (FBI): ARFID division-An acceptance-based interoceptive exposure treatment for children with ARFID.
OBJECTIVE: Individuals with Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) experience impairing health consequences from insufficient nutritional variety and/or quantity. Early medical conditions and/or somatic symptoms such as abdominal pain may lead some with ARFID to experience somatic sensations as aversive. As such, food avoidance may be part of a broader behavioral repertoire aimed at suppressing bodily sensations. Avoiding these necessary and informative signals (e.g., growls of hunger) may subvert the emergence of healthy self-awareness and self-regulation. Teaching children with ARFID to engage adaptively with bodily sensations may help decrease aversiveness, increase self-awareness, and increase approach behaviors. METHOD: Drawing from interventions for panic disorder and irritable bowel syndrome, we developed an acceptance-based interoceptive exposure treatment for young children with ARFID, Feeling and Body Investigators (FBI)-ARFID Division. Using playful cartoons and developmentally sensitive exposures, we teach young children how to map interoceptive sensations onto meanings (e.g., emotions) and actions (e.g., if I feel nervous, I'll hold someone's hand). RESULTS: We present a case study of a 4-year old child with lifelong poor appetite/food indifference. DISCUSSION: Some individuals with ARFID may avoid food to avoid internal sensations. Developmentally appropriate interoceptive exposures may decrease ARFID symptoms while increasing more general self-regulation skills.
Zucker, NL; LaVia, MC; Craske, MG; Foukal, M; Harris, AA; Datta, N; Savereide, E; Maslow, GR
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