As frustrating as it is, there is rarely one identifiable cause of an eating disorder, and OSFED is no different. More often than not, it is a constellation of neurobiological and environmental factors: in other words, someone has a genetic predisposition to developing an eating disorder, and then the eating disorder is “turned on” by environmental factors. You can learn more about the causes of eating disorders on our blog.
Because OSFED manifests so differently, the treatment approach will also vary. However, as with all eating disorder treatment at Equip, the initial focus of will be on normalizing eating habits, stopping eating disorder behaviors, and weight restoration if necessary.
We focus on these behavioral and nutritional aspects first and foremost, because it's difficult for patients to make progress in other areas when they're malnourished, and eating disorder behaviors can lead to malnutrition, regardless of a person's weight. A malnourished brain doesn’t think clearly or take in new information well. People who are malnourished are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and have trouble paying attention.
Once patients have been able to normalize their eating habits and make progress toward restoring their weight (if necessary), the focus of treatment can shift to other areas. That might mean working on interpersonal relationships, setting goals outside of their eating disorder, learning to handle triggers in their daily life, or understanding potential root causes of the eating disorder.
To accomplish all this, our clinicians use a variety of different evidence-based treatment modalities, including CBT-E (a form of cognitive behavioral therapy designed specifically for eating disorders), DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy), and ERP (exposure and response prevention). For younger patients who live with their family, we generally use FBT (family-based treatment).
EDNOS, which stands for Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, is the term formerly used to describe OSFED, which stands for Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder. OSFED replaced EDNOS in the DSM-IV in 2013.
Facts and statistics about OSFED
- The following are some different types of OSFED: atypical anorexia (you have all the signs of anorexia but are not underweight); binge eating disorder that doesn’t happen often or for very long; bulimia that doesn’t happen often or for very long; purging disorder (when someone purges after eating, but without binging behavior); night eating syndrome (when someone overeats at night, experiences sleep problems, and eats upon waking at night).
- OSFED affects about 5% of people across different ages in the United States.
- People with OSFED are just as likely to die from their illness as people with anorexia or bulimia.
- Children hospitalized for OSFED have just as many medical complications as children hospitalized for anorexia.