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Mental Health and Rumination Disorder

How Is Rumination Disorder Treated?

Treatment of rumination disorder mainly focuses on changing the child's behavior. Several approaches may be used, including:

  • Changing the child's posture during and right after eating
  • Encouraging more interaction between mother and child during feeding; giving the child more attention
  • Reducing distractions during feeding
  • Making feeding a more relaxing and pleasurable experience
  • Distracting the child when he or she begins the rumination behavior
  • Aversive conditioning, which involves placing something sour or bad-tasting on the child's tongue when he or she begins to regurgitate food

Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) for the mother and/or family may be helpful to improve communication and address any negative feelings toward the child due to the behavior.

There are no medications used to treat rumination disorder.

What Complications Are Associated With Rumination Disorder?

Among the many potential complications associated with untreated rumination disorder are:

  • Malnutrition
  • Lowered resistance to infections and diseases
  • Failure to grow and thrive
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach diseases such as ulcers
  • Dehydration
  • Bad breath and tooth decay
  • Aspiration pneumonia and other respiratory problems (from vomit that is breathed into the lungs)
  • Choking
  • Death

What Is the Outlook for People With Rumination Disorder?

In most cases, infants and young children with rumination disorder will outgrow the behavior and return to eating normally. For older children, this disorder can continue for months.

Can Rumination Disorder Be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent rumination disorder. However, careful attention to a child's eating habits may help catch the disorder before serious complications can occur.

 

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 23, 2014

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