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 may present with disturbed eating habits, a distorted body image, overvaluation of body shape and weight, or an intense fear of gaining weight. OSFED is the most common eating disorder diagnosed for adults as well as adolescents and affects people of all genders.
Examples of OSFED
A diagnosis of OSFED doesn’t mean someone has a less severe eating disorder. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, a person must present with “clinically significant distress and impairment, but do not meet the full criteria for any of the other disorders.” Here are a few examples of how OSFED might present:
- Bulimia Nervosa (of low frequency and/or limited duration): 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 (of low frequency and/or limited duration): An individual meets the criteria for binge eating disorder but engages in binging behaviors at a lower frequency and/or for a limited period.
- Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: An individual has restrictive behaviors and other symptoms of anorexia, however, they do not meet the low weight criteria.
- Purging Disorder: A person has recurring episodes of purging without binge eating.
- Night Eating Syndrome: A person has recurrent episodes of night eating. The night eating isn’t better explained by other factors.
These are just a few examples; someone might present in a different way. If a person doesn’t meet the criteria for another eating disorder like binge eating disorder, bulimia, or anorexia, they might be diagnosed with OSFED.
Individuals with OSFED all share the common trait of having disordered thoughts and behaviors about food and eating. Here are a few of the warning signs of OSFED:
- Preoccupation with food and eating
- Preoccupation with body shape or weight
- Extreme body dissatisfaction
- Having a distorted body image
- Heightened anxiety and/or irritability around mealtimes
- Depression, anxiety or irritability
- Low self-esteem and feelings of shame, self-loathing, or guilt
- Refuses to eat certain categories of foods
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 it’s not severe, and some believe that people with OSFED do not need treatment.
Delaying treatment can result in developing co-occurring disorders or worsening the severity of the current disorder, and people with OSFED need treatment just as much as those with any other eating disorder.
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, can be 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.
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.