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OSFED & Other Eating Disorders Overview

What is OSFED?

Other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED) is a clinical category of disordered eating that describes individuals suffering from maladaptive thoughts and behaviors related to food, eating and body image, but who do not meet all the diagnostic criteria for another specific diagnosis like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Formerly referred to as eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS), OSFED is believed to affect between four to six percent of the population.

Some of the most typical forms of unspecified eating (OSFED) disorders include orthorexia, over-exercise, body dysmorphic disorder and diabulimia.
 

Woman in Treatment for an Unspecified Eating Disorder (EDNOS)


Orthorexia

This is a pattern of disordered eating characterized by an obsession with healthy eating and avoiding foods perceived to be impure, unclean and/or unhealthy (literally translated to “correct or right appetite”). Orthorexia is rooted in the quality of foods consumed and not the quantity of food consumed (ie. anorexia/too little food consumed, bulimia and binge eating disorder/too much food consumed). 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.

Over-exercise/exercise compulsion/obligatory exercise

This disorder is characterized by a significant amount of physical activity that is obligatory in nature accompanied by a sense of urgency or agitation when individuals can’t engage in the exercise behavior. The exercise does not have to be a certain type of exercise or performed for a minimum duration.

Body dysmorphic disorder

This body image disorder is 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, causing severe emotional distress, problems with daily functioning and/or 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.

Orthorexia, over-exercise, body dysmorphic disorder and diabulimia are examples of other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED) that are serious, but are not classified as official eating disorder diagnoses. These disordered eating behaviors can adversely affect your physical and psychological health and result in significant impairments in your ability to function in daily life.

Seek help for OSFED

If you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms that appear to be OSFED, it’s important that you seek specialized, professional treatment. Our ERC treatment teams are trained in each of these other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED). To learn more, please call ERC at 877-825-8584.

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