What is Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED)
Previously known as EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified), Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED) is defined as a special classification for those who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for other specific eating disorders.
This may seem like a disorder that can be assigned to those who don’t have a “serious” disorder like anorexia and bulimia; however, clinically this is not the case.
It is a known fact that those with OSFED were and are just as likely to die from their eating disorder as other types, and children who were hospitalized for OSFED had as many complications medically as those who had anorexia. This eating disorder is just as serious but tends to have a greater variety of symptoms, which prevents it from being diagnosed as one specific type of eating disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of OSFED
Because OSFED is an eating disorder that does not meet the diagnostic criteria of any other eating disorder, it has a wide range of signs. They include the following:
- Obsession With Weight/Calories – A serious preoccupation with weight loss and trying to not eat many calories is a primary sign of OSFED. Restricting foods like carbs, drinking low calorie beverages, and cutting out entire food groups just to lose weight can all be additional signs.
- Attitude Changes – Behavioral changes such as wearing baggy clothes, withdrawing from friends and activities, never being hungry, and mood swings are all indications of OSFED. Compulsive exercise and always being exhausted can be signs as well.
- Signs of Binging and Purging – A pattern of binge eating and purging is very common for people with OSFED. Signs of binge eating include lots of empty wrappers or containers. Purging behaviors may include the use of laxatives or diuretics and frequent trips to the bathroom. Teeth problems such as cavities, a swollen jaw, and excessive use of gum and/or mints can also be signs of purging.
- General Physical Signs – There are many overt physical signs to this eating disorder. Examples such as dizziness, fainting, difficulty concentrating, and brittle hair/nails are all associated with nutritional deficiencies. This is a key issue of OSFED.
- Body Heat Retention Issues – While there are a range of different physical signs, trouble keeping warm is a very common one. Cold extremities, dressing in layers, and complaints of not being able to warm up can mean a lack of body fat from malnutrition.
While one of these symptoms by itself may not point to OSFED, combined signs could be a strong indicator of this eating disorder.
Evaluation & Diagnosis
Because diagnoses for anorexia nervosa and bulimia are so strict, OSFED can come in many different forms and variations of these same disorders or something different altogether.
Some of the diagnoses for OSFED include:
- Atypical Anorexia Nervosa – The individual’s diagnosis matches Anorexia Nervosa except for extreme weight loss.
- Purging Disorder – Constantly purging, but not binging, in order to lose weight or change body shape.
- Night Eating Syndrome – Regular instances of eating either after an evening meal or waking up. These episodes cause distress or health issues and are not part of societal norms or environmental influences.
There are many other types of non-typical eating disorders in the OSFED classification; these are just a few examples.
Health Effects of OSFED
The consequences of untreated OSFED are dire. An eating disorder can lead to a variety of health issues such as nutritional deficiencies, infertility, and in severe cases, organ failure and death. OSFED can also contribute to other mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Overall, this condition seriously impacts quality of life.
Eating disorders are very treatable. With the proper combination of therapy, medication, and nutritional support, most people are able to make a full recovery. If you suspect an eating disorder in yourself or a loved one but have not been formally diagnosed, contact Seeds of Hope at (610) 644-6464 . We offer comprehensive assessments to diagnose eating disorders in adults and teens. Our trained clinicians can help you determine the best treatment option for your unique situation.