OSFED stands for Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder and refers to an eating disorder that is similar to but not exactly the same as other eating disorders. You may have some characteristics of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder yet find that you don’t meet all of the criteria used by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for those eating disorders. If that is the case, you will likely be told that you have OSFED. While OSFED may not be as well-known as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, it is nevertheless serious and requires treatment.
Is OSFED the Same as EDNOS?
Many people with eating disorders do not meet the precise criteria established by the APA in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Before the DSM-5 – the fifth edition of the manual – was published in 2013, eating disorders that did not meet the manual’s criteria were classified as EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). In the DSM-6, EDNOS was formally changed to OSFED.
Since OSFED can involve symptoms from one or several other eating disorders, there are many different ways it can present for diagnosis. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, the following are examples of OSFED symptoms that would result in a formal diagnosis:
Atypical anorexia, in which all of the criteria for anorexia are met, but the individual’s weight is within or above the “normal” range.
Bulimia nervosa (of low frequency and/or limited duration), in which all of the criteria is met for bulimia nervosa, except that the patient uses inappropriate compensatory behaviors less frequently and for a shorter amount of time than the DSM criteria specify.
Binge eating disorder with binging taking place less frequently than the DSM criteria specify (at least once a week for at least three months).
Purging disorder, in which a person purges without the presence of binge eating.
Night eating syndrome, which is excessive consumption of food after dinner or during the middle of the night.
Warning Signs of OSFED
Individuals suffering from OSFED may exhibit disturbed eating habits and an intense fear of weight gain. Physical signs of OSFED may include weight loss, gain and/or fluctuation; dehydration; a compromised immune system due to nutrient deficiency; and, in females, amenorrhea, which is the absence of a menstrual period.
Psychological signs of OSFED often include a preoccupation with food and body shape. Some have a distorted body image. Dieting, eating food at unusual times or in a ritualistic manner, and compulsive exercising are also some behavioral signs of OSFED.
Health Risks of OSFED
Some people believe that OSFED is less serious than better-known eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder. However, OSFED poses significant risks to a person’s medical and mental health that are equally as serious, ranging from osteoporosis to heart conditions. It can also lead to death if left untreated.
Many people with OSFED have other co-occurring conditions, such as depression, severe anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Individuals with eating disorders like OSFED are also more likely than the general population to have issues with drug or alcohol abuse.
Walden is proud to be “in network” with most insurance providers and managed care companies. This means adolescents and adults with OSFED can have the flexible and cost-efficient access to treatment that they need. Click here for a list of organizations with which Walden has contractual relationships.
You are not alone. We’re here to help.
If you are concerned that you, or a loved one, may have an eating disorder, we are here to help. Please fill out the form on this page or email email@example.com to connect with a member of our Welcome Center. Begin your journey to recovery today.