Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders Overview

What is OSFED?

Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED) is a clinical category used to describe a variety of disordered eating behaviors (maladaptive thoughts and behaviors related to food, eating and body image) that do not meet all the diagnostic criteria for a specific eating disorder, like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Some of the most typical forms of unspecified eating (OSFED) disorders include orthorexia, excessive/compulsive exercise, body dysmorphic disorder and diabulimia. Affecting between four to six percent of the population, OSFED was formerly referred to as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).

Orthorexia

Orthorexia seems to be in the news more and more lately as "healthy" eating is taken to the extreme. People with orthorexia become obsessed with the foods they consume and avoid foods that are perceived as impure, unclean and/or unhealthy. Those struggling with orthorexia are concerned with the type and quality of foods consumed — not the quantity of food consumed. To differentiate, those with anorexia consume very little; those with binge eating disorder consume a larger amount of food. Orthorexia is not an official eating disorder diagnosis or a medically recognized term. It is a descriptive term for an observed behavior and is used widely in popular culture. While the term itself is inaccurate, it underscores a real and very serious pattern of disordered eating.

Excessive Exercise/Compulsive Exercise

You may know it as over-exercise, compulsive exercise, or obligatory exercise. Excessive exercise becomes a serious health problem when individuals focus a significant amount of time into physical activity that is:

  • Obligatory in nature

  • Accompanied by a sense of urgency or agitation when individuals can’t engage in the exercise behavior

  • Undertaken in spite of illness, injure or poor/dangerous weather conditions

  • At the expense of other activities (work, school, social life)

  • Causing serious health problems (GI symptoms, changes in menses, etc.)

How we treat excessive/compulsive exercise

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a body image disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts related to body size, shape or weight. Negative thoughts may be focused on a single body part or the entire body. BDD has a number of serious effects on one's life, including:

  • Severe emotional distress

  • Problems with daily functioning (refusal to go out or to be seen in photos)

  • Extreme efforts to “fix” the real or perceived flaw (diet, exercise, plastic surgery, camouflaging with clothes, makeup, wigs, etc.)

Diabulimia

Diabulimia is a pattern of disordered eating in which an individual with type 1 diabetes intentionally misuses insulin for weight control/weight loss. Diabulimia is not an official eating disorder diagnosis or a medically recognized term. It is a descriptive term for an observed behavior and is used widely in popular culture. While the term itself is inaccurate, it underscores a real and very serious pattern of disordered eating.

If you're struggling, help is available

Other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED), like those listed above, can adversely affect your physical and psychological health and result in significant impairments in your ability to function in daily life. If you or someone you know is having difficulties related to eating, exercise or body image issues, specialized, professional treatment is available.

To learn more about treatment options for OSFED, please call us at 877-825-8584 to speak confidentially with a Master's-level counselor. Eating Recovery Center is the nation's only health care system dedicated to the treatment of OSFED, orthorexia, exercise compulsion, and body dysmorphic disorder at all levels of care, including inpatient treatment, residential treatment, partial hospitalization treatment and intensive outpatient treatment.

Woman in Treatment for an Unspecified Eating Disorder (EDNOS)

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