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Picky Eating: is It a Behaviour Or Disorder?

BY: Juri Sharma | Category: Health | Submitted: 2017-07-25 01:05:08
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Article Summary: "This write up is about an insight of picky eating which is both prevalent in children as well as in adult. Previously not taken seriously or still not considered as one disorder, it has tried to touch on all possible causes and remedy of this very common issue..."

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Picky eater is a term commonly used in case of kids and children who are choosy and selective when it comes to food. Generally speaking, this habit remains for a phase of normal development and slowly goes off with growing years. As the term used, 'Picky eaters' are mostly referred to children who are fussy about certain food. They prefer to live on particular kind of food items. Kids and children who are picky eaters can be so strenuous that they become the common cause of anxiety to their parents and caretakers. Preferring only certain food items can lead them to nutritional deficit, restricted growth and social phobias. So, it is like one problem can lead to another. Normally, this habit slowly withers with growing years. But in some cases, they do persist. Picky child can grow up as picky adult. Then, it is a concern and has to be taken seriously.

More than adults, the issue is very common in case of children. In fact, researches show 25 to 30 percent of all children has aversion to certain food items. In a normal scenario, this habit remains for a time phase and then slowly goes off. Children, adult with persisted picky eating behaviour for a longer time needed professional intervention. Many times, they may have underlying cause of depression, anxiety, mood disorder or attention deficit disorder. Psychologists have proved that several kinds of food disorders do exist. And some disorders can be serious and require treatment and therapies. The underlying causes can be either psychological, physiological or have no reason at all. Eating disorders are many to name like anorexia, bulimia, selective eating disorder or neophobia. Neophobia is a commonly seen cause in case of Picky children. They reject food item due to its taste, texture or smell or they fear trying new food altogether. Some mental illnesses associated with eating disorder are phobias, mood disorder, depression and post traumatic stress. Many food allergies and gastro oesophageal reflux disorders can be the underlying factor of selective eating disorder. Eating abnormalities for decades were thought to be behaviour rather than a disorder. Fussy eating for instance is not associated with any mental illness. The person preferences remain towards certain food items for its taste, smell or texture. They prefer certain food cooked or served in a particular way. Certain disorder like in selective eating disorder, the problem is associated with a phobia or a past bad experience which makes him adverse to some food items. Even if the person wanted to or tries having those food items, he ends up gasping or choking with fear. In these cases, genuine help and therapies are required to overcome. Other eating disorders like anorexia, bulimias are associated often with depression, phobias and anxiety. If the underlying cause is treated, the person does improve greatly.

Avoidance /restrictive food intake disorder cases often remain undiagnosed and unreported. Such eating disorder since the longest time was never taken seriously. The issue slowly became serious when individuals with such disorders were noticed and reported in recent times. There is a general awareness among parents and individuals Such disorder became noticeable when it hampered the affected individual with context to. nutritional balance, social or professional life. It can be associated with a mental disorder too. Any eating disorder is immense and severe when it is progressive, challenging and life threatening. Like all disorder, eating abnormalities has effective treatment, therapies depending on the cause. The treatment approach can be physical, emotional, therapeutic or spiritual or holistic.

Therefore, picky eating can be a normal habit in children and adult. But sometimes, it can have a more serious underlying issue. So, not all instances can be concluded as simple fussiness or bad habit. Researchers have given scientific bases for such disorder. Genetically, the behaviour passes from parents to their off springs. Some genes of individual, associated with taste, texture, temperature, smell are too sensitive than a normal individual. In certain cases, it can be some bad experience in childhood regarding a food item which leads to adversity. In certain people, it can be the temperament or anxious personality, which may result in restricted behaviour towards some food. Sometimes it can be due to gastro oesophageal discomfort causes. So, the underlying cause can be different in different individual. Whatever may be the cause, the problem should not be labelled as simply stubbornness or a bad habit. The individual with such disorder genuinely needs attention and support to deal with it. Usually noticed, picky eaters have more issues with food textures and smell than taste. Adults usually tend to hide this issue for fear of embarrassment and rejection in society. They avoid social gathering, prefer to stay alone. As a result of which, it affects their both personal and professional life. They may suffer from nutritional deficiencies as well. Such cases need counselling and therapies. Be it a child or an adult, a continuous effort is necessary from both the individual and the therapist. Pressure, praise or tricks nothing works in case of food items which have been rejected by the person before. In fact, rejected food items should be tried again and again in different forms or with different recipes from time to time. Due to repeated efforts, success is possible for certain food items. Initially, taking attempts in smaller amounts than slowly going for larger quantities and subsequently increasing the food horizon. Multiple attempts of a particular food item can create a perception of taste and flavour in the brain which is stored in memory. So, this way, the aversion of the particular food item can be slowly overcome. The most important part here is training the brain with multiple exposures of the food item. Based on these past experiences, the brain slowly learns to accept and relaxed on eating such food items. The improvement and change does happen.
Though complete success story of such individual may not be easy and common but change and improvement is always possible. Even behaviour relating to genetic traits can be changed with effort and practice. Actually in case of picky eating, whatever the underlying cause is, the role of treatment or therapist is always supportive; the effort has to be from the individual.
Like all ailments, it is the individual's courage, positivity, family encouragement and the therapist's effort can expand the food choices and improvement happens.

About Author / Additional Info:
A Medical Professional who is an enthusiastic writer on heath related issues.

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