OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder) What is OSFED?
OSFED, previously called Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), is a general name given to eating disorders that don't meet the specific criteria of other disorders. While it’s a more general diagnosis, OSFED can be just as serious as other eating disorders and can result in hospitalization for the same medical complications as anorexia and bulimia. OSFED is not a choice or a vanity issue. OSFED, like all eating disorders, has complex neurological and biological underpinnings, which is why we refer to it as a brain disorder. While environmental and social factors play a role in eating disorder development, they are never the singular cause (nor is anything else). Rather, eating disorders emerge out of a “perfect storm” of factors.

OSFED symptoms

Because OSFED is such a variable condition, it has many different symptoms and warning signs. The illness can look different from person to person. In general, people with OSFED exhibit behaviors and attitudes that suggest dieting, weight loss, and/or control of food are major concerns and sources of anxiety. Some people with OSFED experience dramatic weight changes, but not all.
Common questions about OSFED

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.
OSFED is a serious and deadly condition, but it is treatable, and lasting recovery is possible. If you think your loved one might be struggling with anorexia, finding treatment promptly is vital.
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Our patients are getting better
After the first 8 weeks of treatment, Equip patients are well on their way to recovery
Average weekly weight gain for those who need it
8 in 10
Patients report a decrease in eating disorder behaviors
Of patients report improvements with depression or anxiety
My daughter's eating disorder seemed insurmountable, but Equip truly saved her. The coordinated support was incredible and it is so easy to schedule sessions. I wholeheartedly recommend Equip.
Dad of a 16-year-old with anorexia
I was pervasively hopeless about recovering prior to finding Equip and now I feel so optimistic about my journey for the first time ever.
45-year-old with bulimia
Equip was there for us day and night. Any time we needed help they held our hands and walked us through the darkness; all we had to do was trust their professional expertise.
Sister of a 19-year-old with anorexia
Equip was the best thing that ever happened to me. Interacting with a team that truly cared about me was transformational. Last year, I felt broken. Today, I feel whole.
33-year-old with BED
This has been the missing link on our journey. The convenience of scheduling; virtual options; complete team of providers; it is saving my daughter's life.
Mother of a 13-year-old with ARFID
I love the team approach that touches every aspect. Their positive approach has inspired my son to want to improve and take a lot of the initiative to do so himself.
Mother of a 18-year-old with OSFED
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