What is OSFED?
Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED) is an eating disorder classification for those who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for any other eating disorders. OSFED has replaced “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)” in The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM-IV).
Individuals with OSFED commonly present with extremely disturbed eating habits, a distorted body image, overvaluation of body shape and weight, and an intense fear of gaining weight. OSFED is the most common eating disorder diagnosed for adults as well as adolescents and affects both males and females.
5 Subtypes of OSFED?
The medical complications associated with anorexia can be extensive and if left untreated, can be irreversible. Eating disorders affect every organ system in the body. Complications of anorexia include:
- Bulimia Nervosa: An individual meets the criteria for bulimia but engages in binging or purging behaviors at a lower frequency and/or for a limited period.
- Binge Eating Disorder: An individual meets the criteria for binge eating disorder but engages in binging behaviors at a lower frequency and/or for a limited period. A person experiences episodes of eating, in short, an amount of food that is larger than what most individuals would consume and feels out of control.
- Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: An individual has restrictive behaviors and other symptoms of anorexia, however, they do not meet the low weight criteria.
- Purging Disorder: Purging behaviors that may include vomiting, excessive exercise, laxatives, etc.
- Night Eating Syndrome: Recurrent episodes of night eating. The person recalls what they have eaten.
Risks & Complications
There is a general lack of understanding regarding the severity of OSFED and the importance of professional treatment for those grappling with disorders that fall under this category. A common misconception about OSFED is that the subtypes of this eating disorder are not severe, and many believe they do not need treatment.
Delaying treatment can result in developing co-occurring disorders or worsening the severity of the current disorder, and therefore, it is just as necessary to diagnose and treat OSFED, as it is any other eating disorder. Individuals with OSFED can engage in self-harm and co-occurring mental health issues or substance abuse, just as with other eating disorders.
Around 30% of people who seek treatment for an eating disorder have Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED). The reasons for developing OSFED will differ from person to person; known causes include genetic predisposition and a combination of environmental, social and cultural factors. OSFED, like many other eating disorders is triggered by unresolved underlying feelings and emotions. Childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, bullying, low-self esteem, a perfectionistic personality and poor interpersonal relationship skills are all known to contribute to the onset of OSFED.
Additionally if your parent or sibling has an eating disorder, you are more likely to develop OSFED, therefore even if you have no underlying triggers, genetics can still be the culprit.
Treatment for OSFED
The good news is that recovery is possible! Treatment for OSFED is highly individualized, based on the specific diagnosis, with the treatment team utilizing evidence-based treatment modalities with proven success.
If you or a loved one is struggling, please reach out to us. Center for Discovery’s Treatment Centers specialize in treatment for eating disorders, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment with unique treatment programs for every individual to get them on their way to eating disorder recovery.
For more information, resources, or to consult with one of our specialists, call 866.482.3876.