Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder

OSFED

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) is characterized by eating disorder symptoms that cause significant distress and impair social or occupational functioning and/or have significant medical consequences, but do not altogether meet the full diagnostic criteria for AN, BN, BED, or ARFID.

What is OSFED?

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) is characterized by eating disorder symptoms that cause significant distress and impair social or occupational functioning and/or have significant medical consequences, but do not altogether meet the full diagnostic criteria for AN, BN, BED, or ARFID. Though individuals with OSFED fall outside the definitions of the other major eating disorders, this diagnosis nevertheless indicates than an individual is seriously ill.

What Causes Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder

Like all eating disorders, OSFED develops over a period of time due to a complicated blend of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. There is no single place to point to and despite common misconceptions, families and communities of support are not to blame. In fact, they are often recovery’s strongest ally. Many individuals have genetic predispositions to eating disorders that, depending on environmental influences, may or may not be awakened over the course of their lifetime.

  • Confused Physiological Processes & Altered Hunger and Satiety Signals

  • Experiencing & Surviving a Traumatic Event

  • Genetic Predispositions & Societal Pressures

  • Abnormal Brain Circuitry & Weakened Food-centric Reward Pathways

  • Lack of Environmental Control & Persistent, Extreme Stress or Minority Stress

What to Look For

Being familiar with the signs and symptoms generally associated with eating disorders can help you champion early intervention and recovery.

  • Gaining or losing weight

  • Preoccupation with weight, food, appearance & calorie counting

  • Excessive physical activity

  • Change in school or work performance

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Mood changes, depression, anxiety & social isolation

  • Frequent standing, pacing & fidgeting

  • Fatigue, fainting, dizziness & lightheadedness

OSFED Designations

  • Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: motivated by a fear of being overweight, an individual may lose a considerable amount of weight and remain at or above normal weight for their age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health. However, all other signs of anorexia nervosa are present.

  • Bulimia Nervosa (limited duration or low frequency): an individual engages in binge/purge behaviors associated with bulimia nervosa, but less than once a week and/or for less than three months.

  • Purging Disorder: an individual repeatedly engages in purging behaviors, but not in binging behaviors.

  • Night Eating Syndrome: episodes of binge-eating occur at night while an individual is in some stage of sleep.

Resources

SCOFF: Eating Disorder Assessment Tool

The SCOFF questionnaire is a useful tool to screen for maladaptive eating behaviors. Individuals answering “yes” to two or more questions may be at risk for an eating disorder and…

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What Causes Eating Disorders?

For 15 years I worked as a research scientist examining the neurobiologic and genetic underpinnings of eating disorders. The number one question I heard (and still hear) is: What causes eating disorders? Is…

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Signs Your Adolescent May Have an Eating Disorder

Early adolescence is a tumultuous time for teens and parents. Add a possible eating disorder into the mix, and things can feel downright out of control. Eating disorders are sneaky….

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Understanding the Diagnostic Criteria for Eating Disorders

There are specific behaviors that point to different types of eating disorders. Understanding and identifying these signs and symptoms is critical to providing the most effective individualized course of treatment…

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