09/06/2012 01:19 pm ET

Daniel Harrison, 5-Year-Old, Eats For The First Time After Undergoing Treatment For Fear Of Food, Drink

Caters News Agency

A 5-year-old from the U.K. is able to enjoy food and drink after undergoing treatments to help him get over his fear of eating, according to news reports.

The Daily Mail reported on the case of Daniel Harrison, who was traumatized from painful acid reflux he experienced during infancy. Because of that, Harrison was fed through a feeding tube because he wouldn't eat food.

"Because of Daniel's autism it makes him worse, it makes him think something is trying to hurt him, so his instinct is 'no'," Harrison's father, Kevin, told the BBC.

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid comes up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and a sour food taste in the mouth, the Mayo Clinic reported. It can lead to the more severe form, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Infant acid reflux, in particular, is relatively common and can usually be resolved by making alterations in the way the baby is fed, the Mayo Clinic reported. However, the condition can make the infant cough, spit up, cry after feedings and not want to eat.

To combat Harrison's fear of eating from his infant acid relux, his parents took him to Austria's University Hospital to receive treatment, the Sun reported.

In the last 22 years, 12 other children have been treated at this hospital for the same fear, The Sun reported. The treatment works by training kids like Harrison to recognize food as a want and a necessity.

The BBC reported that specifically, the treatment involves feeding less food and drink through the feeding tube so that Harrison would be able to feel hunger and thereby want food.

The treatment was paid for largely through donations raised by the family, as well as some financial support from the UK's National Health Service, according to the BBC.

"Eating has changed him as a child -- his behaviour has changed and he's so much happier. He's a different boy," Kevin Harrison told the Daily Mail.