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1295 Bandana Boulevard West
Suite 310 & 210
St. Paul, MN 55108
P: 651-645-5323
F: 651-621-8490
Toll-Free: 1-888-364-5977

About Eating Disorders

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 meet the full diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder). Though individuals with OSFED fall outside the definitions of the other major eating disorders, this diagnosis nevertheless indicates that an individual is seriously ill.

What causes OSFED?

Like all eating disorders, OSFED develops over a period of time as a result of a complicated blend of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. There is no single cause 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.

  • Altered hunger and fullness signals
  • Experiencing a traumatic event
  • Genetic predisposition and societal pressures (e.g., drive for thinness)
  • Abnormal brain circuitry and weakened food-related reward pathways
  • Lack of environmental control and persistent, extreme stress, or minority stress
peron looking forward

What to Look For

Being familiar with the signs and symptoms of anorexia can help you champion early intervention and improve recovery rates for anorexia nervosa. Things to watch for include body checking, significantly restricting food intake, and/or extreme food rigidity that allows for only small quantities of certain foods. Associated disorders, or “comorbidities,” include obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and social phobia.

  • People with anorexia often have a distorted perception of their body image and an intense fear of gaining weight.
  • Extreme food restriction, obsessive calorie counting, frequent body and weight checking, and excessive or compulsive exercise can all be signs of anorexia.
  • Hiding or throwing away food and/or skipping meals is commonly seen in people with anorexia.
  • Rigidity or obsessiveness also often accompanies anorexia, as does an intense fear of food or a specific food.
  • Cold intolerance, hair loss, and skin and nail discoloration are among the physical symptoms of anorexia.

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
  • Binge eating disorder (low frequency and/or limited duration): An individual binges less often than typically seen in binge eating disorder
  • 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
mother and daughter with therapist

Let Us Help You Recover

If you or a loved one are struggling with OSFED, don’t wait to reach out for help. The earlier eating disorders are treated, the better the outcomes tend to be.

At Veritas Collaborative, we work with you to create an individualized care plan so you or your child get the right treatment at the right time. We offer a full continuum of care, which includes inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization (PHP), intensive outpatient (IOP), outpatient, and virtual programs for children, adolescents, and adults. This allows us to provide best-in-class care and support throughout your recovery journey, even as your needs change. Our treatment programs focus on real-life skills, including hands-on nutrition and culinary experiences that you can take with you for lasting recovery. We encourage family involvement and offer family-based therapy and educational support for children and adolescents.

Ask for help. You are not alone. Begin healing today.