What is OSFED?
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED) are disorders that are very similar to commonly defined eating disorders but do not fully meet the criteria for a diagnosis. This does not mean that these disorders are any less harmful for the people who experience them. OSFED-classified disorders may exhibit some symptoms and behaviors that exist in Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, or Binge Eating Disorder.
OSFED may include abnormal thoughts and behaviors related to food, eating and a person’s body image. This group of eating disorders may affect up to six percent of the population and cause significant distress or impairment of daily life.
Individuals diagnosed with OSFED-classified disorders typically exhibit variations of symptoms and behaviors present in other eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. However, they may not exhibit all symptoms of these disorders, or may not exhibit them to such an extreme degree. The following five subtypes are the most common Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders:
Atypical Anorexia Nervosa
If you or a loved one is struggling with Atypical Anorexia Nervosa, you likely exhibit all symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa but remain within or above the normal weight range.
Signs of Atypical Anorexia Nervosa include denial of hunger, preoccupation with weight, food and body image, extreme food rituals and fear of gaining weight. For a full breakdown of Anorexia Nervosa symptoms, side effects and treatment options, visit https://www.allianceforeatingdisorders.com/anorexia-nervosa/.
Bulimia Nervosa (OF LOW FREQUENCY AND/OR LIMITED DURATION)
If you or a loved one is struggling with this OSFED-variant of Bulimia Nervosa, all criteria for Bulimia Nervosa are likely met, except that binge eating and purging behaviors occur, on average, at a lower frequency and/or for less than three months.
Signs of Bulimia Nervosa can include bingeing and purging, lack of control over eating or excessive and compulsive exercise regimes. For a full breakdown of Bulimia Nervosa symptoms, side effects and treatment options, visit https://www.allianceforeatingdisorders.com/bulimia-nervosa/.
Binge Eating Disorder (OF LOW FREQUENCY AND/OR LIMITED DURATION)
Those struggling with this OSFED-variant of Binge Eating Disorder will likely exhibit all of the symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder except that binge eating occurs, on average, less than once a week and/or for less than three months.
Signs of Binge Eating Disorder can include eating large quantities of food, a sense of lack of control over eating and eating until uncomfortably/painfully full. For a full breakdown of Binge Eating Disorder symptoms, side effects and treatment options, visit https://www.allianceforeatingdisorders.com/binge-eating-disorder/.
Purging Disorder is characterized by recurrent purging behavior to influence weight or shape in the absence of binge eating. Purging can take several forms, including self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or other medications and excessive exercise.
Signs of Purging Disorder include recurring episodes of purging behaviors to lose weight, a fear of gaining weight or obsession with losing weight and distorted body image. If you or a loved one are experiencing behaviors and symptoms aligned with Purging Disorder, we recommend seeking help from a trained professional immediately. The Alliance is here to help. Visit our national, interactive database to find eating disorder treatment options near you today.
Night Eating Syndrome
Night Eating Syndrome is characterized by recurrent episodes of night eating, as exhibited by eating after awakening from sleep or by excessive food consumption after the evening meal. If you are struggling with Night Eating Syndrome, it can be normal to feel shame and guilt, which may cause significant distress and/or impairment of functioning. In addition, Night Eating Syndrome is not better explained by external influences or by social norms.
Signs of Night Eating Syndrome include a strong urge to eat between dinner and bedtime, difficulty sleeping or staying asleep and getting up to eat throughout the night. If you think you or a loved one are experiencing behaviors and symptoms aligned with Night Eating Syndrome, we recommend seeking help from a trained professional immediately. The Alliance is here to help. Visit our national, interactive database to find eating disorder treatment options near you today.
OSFED Diagnosis & Treatment
While Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders are not as widely known, that does not make them any less harmful to the individuals struggling with them. In fact, because symptoms may not fit the stereotypical representation of other eating disorders, they may be more at risk of going unnoticed among friends and family. This can lead to prolonged periods of struggling and further physical and mental health complications.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an OSFED-classified disorder, like the ones listed above, you do not have to go through this alone. The Alliance is here to help. Connect with us at Findedhelp.com to find eating disorder treatment options near you today. Learn more about the members of an eating disorder treatment team here, and discover recovery programs, services and support groups with The Alliance here. You are not alone! Help is available and recovery is possible with The Alliance.
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