Signs & Symptoms OSFED

Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED)

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.

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5 Subtypes for 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: An individual has restrictive behaviors and other symptoms of anorexia, however, they do not meet the low weight criteria.
  4. Purging Disorder: Purging behaviors that may include vomiting, excessive exercise, laxatives, etc.
  5. Night Eating Syndrome: Recurrent episodes of night eating. The person recalls what they have eaten.

Symptoms & Warning Signs

While the subtypes of OSFED are broad, individuals with OSFED all share the common trait of having disordered thoughts and behaviors about food and eating.

  • Preoccupation with food and eating
  • Preoccupation with body shape and weight (in men this can be a preoccupation with increasing muscle bulk)
  • Extreme body dissatisfaction
  • Having a distorted body image (e.g., seeing themselves as overweight even if they are in a healthy weight range for their age and height)
  • Sensitivity to comments relating to food, weight, body shape or exercise
  • Heightened anxiety and/or irritability around meal times
  • Depression, anxiety or irritability
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of shame, self-loathing or guilt
  • ‘Black and white’ thinking – rigid thoughts about food being ‘good’ or ‘bad.’


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. 

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.

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.

Seek Help

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.

Preferred In-Network Provider for All Major Health Insurance

Preferred In-Network Provider for All Major Health Insurance

  • I was sent to [Center for Discovery], an all women's eating disorder treatment facility, and I was terrified to go. I was told I would be there for a month and would return home after that. I ended staying there for almost 3 months, and I can honestly say I am beyond thankful for my time there. I learned so much and they helped me find myself and get over my traumas and learn to cope with issues that I was having. All the staff was super helpful and had my best interest at heart. I may have not liked all of them, but I knew they wanted what was best for me. Even after my insurance run out, the therapist I was working with arranged for me to go to another center to continue my treatment because I was not ready to come home. I highly recommend getting help with Center for Discovery. They truly care!
    Rebecca S
  • I was at [Center for Discovery] for 6 weeks. I'm from Ohio and being so far away from home was hard. The staff made me feel super comfortable and cared for, making my stay much more manageable. The program was very individualized. They worked hard to make sure my specific needs were met and that my specific behaviors were addressed. This is a top notch facility with incredibly caring staff. Not only were the house staff wonderful, but everyone from admissions to the medical director worked hard to make sure I knew what was going on. This is a wonderful company who are true to what they say. They gave me my life back. I'm someone who has been in and out of treatment for my eating disorder and this program was by far the best. I feel so optimistic about my future. The progress I made there was life changing and I will be forever grateful. I recommend this program to anyone who is serious, willing, and ready to get better.
    Natalie F
  • I was surprised by my parents with the option of going to get help for my eating disorder and overall unhealthy lifestyle. I so badly wanted to get help, but was too ashamed. After talking to my mom I agreed to at least talk to someone from Center for Discoveryabout what program I would be in and what it would be like. The gal was super helpful, kind, and did not make me feel like I was the only person who suffered from what I did. She was very patient with me and overall helped out our family with the process of insurance and costs and what not. As for the actual facility I stayed at, it was a great experience.
    Rebecca S
  • We had our son in an acute care hospital and the social worker recommended the Center for Discovery. Before our son was discharged, my wife and I met with the staff and toured the facility. We were impressed by the staff and how the program was structured. Our son was there 6 weeks. It was a game changer and now we feel our son left with a good base of skills that he has continued to use. We now feel our son can leave a normal type life and not have to worry that he may need to live in a group home setting as an adult. We can't say enough for the help and support we received from the entire staff at the Center for Discovery. When we were considering the facility we did some reviews on line. Some weren't overly positive, but most were and we feel that it was a very positive experience for our son and our family. Even our son now admits that he learned some great skills and that his time at Center for Discovery turned his life around.
    John W
    Parent of Alumni

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