Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) was formerly recognised as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). According to the DSM-5, a person with OSFED may present with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder but will not meet the full criteria for diagnosis of these disorders.
This does not mean that the person has a less serious eating disorder. OSFED is a serious mental illness that occurs in adults, adolescents and children. Around 30% of people who seek treatment for an eating disorder have 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.
People with OSFED commonly present with extremely disturbed eating habits, and/or a distorted body image and/or overvaluation of shape and weight and/or an intense fear of gaining weight (if underweight). OSFED is the most common eating disorder diagnosed for adults as well as adolescents, and affects both males and females.
Having awareness about eating disorders and the warning signs and symptoms can make a marked difference to the severity and duration of the illness. Seeking help at the first warning sign is much more effective than waiting until the illness is in full swing. Many of the signs that indicate a person may have OSFED are very similar to those of the other eating disorders.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting some or a combination of these signs it is vital to seek help and support as soon as possible.
The warning signs of OSFED can be physical, psychological and behavioural. It is possible for someone with OSFED to display a combination of these symptoms
The risks associated with OSFED are severe. People with OSFED will experience risks similar to those of the eating disorder their behaviours most closely resemble:
While the goal of diagnosis is to accurately describe symptoms and seek the right help for them, a large number of people have other significant eating and feeding issues and distorted body image which are not covered by these categories.
As a result of the atypical nature of OSFED, it is most effective to follow the treatments recommended for the eating disorder that most closely resembles the individual person’s eating problem. For example, if a person presents with many but not all of the symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa, it is recommended for that person to seek the same treatment approaches recommended for people with Bulimia Nervosa.
Find out more about specific treatment approaches.
Yes. It is possible to recover from OSFED, even if you have been living with the illness for many years. The path to recovery can be very challenging. However, with the right team and a high level of personal commitment, recovery is an achievable goal. Treatments for OSFED are available; seek help from a professional with specialised knowledge in eating disorders.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has OSFED, it is important to seek help immediately. The earlier you seek help the closer you are to recovery. While your GP may not be formally trained in detecting the presence of an eating disorder, he/she is a good ‘first base.’ A GP can refer you on to a practitioner with specialised knowledge in eating disorders.
Find help in your local area
The National Helpline provides free, confidential support for anyone.
Phone 1800 33 4673.
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Also check the related topics:Eating Disorders