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Home »  Living Healthy »  Other Specified Feeding And Eating Disorder (OSFED): Physical And Behavioural Symptoms Of This Lesser-Known Eating Disorder

Other Specified Feeding And Eating Disorder (OSFED): Physical And Behavioural Symptoms Of This Lesser-Known Eating Disorder

Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED): From genetics to family history and temperament to low self-esteem, history of trauma, stress, mental health problems and problems with body image, there are several causative factors of other specified feeding and eating disorder.

Other Specified Feeding And Eating Disorder (OSFED): Physical And Behavioural Symptoms Of This Lesser-Known Eating Disorder

OSFED may cause low frequency or low duration bulimia nervosa

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Other specified feeding and eating disorders are not commonly discussed
  2. OSFED is quite common presentation of eating disorder
  3. They can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and constipation

Apart from the class of eating disorders already specified, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, there are also other specified feeding and eating disorder (OSFED), which were previously known as eating disorders not otherwise specificed (EDNOS). In this category, a person has a significant eating disorder but does not meet all criteria for anorexia nervosa, or binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa. OSFED is not commonly discussed, but is the most common presentation of an eating disorder. It is considered to be less dangerous, harmful and destructive as compared to the other well-known eating disorders.

Types of other specified feeding and eating disorder


Low frequency or limited duration bulimia nervosa

A person may be diagnosed with bulimia or low frequency or limited duration when s/he is not able to meet the criteria of bulimia nervosa. These people are likely to experience symptoms at least once a week for three or more months. symptoms of bulimia include recurrent binge eating, induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics and excessive exercise. Diagnosis of low frequency and low duration bulimia nervosa makes room for timely treatment. This increases the chances of a successful outcome as well.

Purging disorder

In this category of eating disorder, purging behaviours like vomiting, using laxatives and diuretics to control weight, and excessive exercise occur. However, the person does not experience binge eating.

Also read: Eating Disorders In Children: Know Different Types And Their Symptoms

Atypical anorexia

This category of other specified eating and feeding disorder is when criteria of anorexia are met, but the person has normal or above average weight. Anorexia nervosa is a condition in which a person does intentional calorie restriction, which leads to a significantly low body weight. S/he has extreme or intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.

Night eating syndrome

This eating disorder is considered to be a subtype of other specified feeding and eating disorders. It causes symptoms like repeated or excessive eating after the evening meal, waking up to eat at night, finding it necessary to eat in order to sleep. In this condition, the person is aware of eating episodes. These episodes cannot be explained by any changes in sleep cycle or other mental health conditions.

Orthorexia, which is an eating disorder characterised by obsession with eating healthy, and diabulimia, which is characterised by misuse of insulin by a diabetic, are other types of OSFED.

Symptoms of other specified feeding and eating disorders

These are the general symptoms that fall under the umbrella of OSFED are:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Lifestyle schedules made in order to accommodate binge eating and purging sessions
  • Refusing to eat certain food groups like carbs or fats
  • Preoccupation with dieting, calorie counting, body weight, weight loss
  • Following fad diets and omitting whole food groups from diet like no sugar, no carbs, vegetarianism, veganism
  • Dieting frequently
  • Denial of hunger
  • Talking about feeling fat despite weight loss
  • Finding flaws in appearance, frequent mirror checks
  • Feeling lack of control over the ability to stop eating
  • Binge eating by eating large amounts of food in short period of time, lots of wrappers and other episodes of lots of food being eaten
  • Feeling uncomfortable around others
  • Wearing loose or layered clothes
  • Stealing, hoarding and hiding food
  • Withdrawal from friends and social activities
  • Overuse of mouthwashes, mints and gum
  • Purging
  • Following extreme exercise regimen aimed at burning calories
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OSFED symptoms include preoccupation with dieting, calorie counting, body weight, weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

All of these symptoms can reflect on a person's physical appearance as well. Here are the physical symptoms that a person may have other specified feeding and eating disorder:

  • Feet swelling
  • Dry, thin and brittle hair
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Gastrointestinal issues like constipation, acidity, acid reflux, abdominal pain
  • Swelling of cheeks or around salivary glands
  • Bloating
  • Menstrual irregularities, missing periods or getting them with the help of hormonal contraception
  • Abnormal test findings like anemia, low thyroid and hormone levels, low blood cell count, low potassium, slow heart rate
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Lethargy or excessive energy
  • Slow wound healing and poor immunity
  • Sleep troubles
  • Cuts on the back of hand because of purging
  • Discoloured or stained teeth, enamel erosion, cavities and tooth sensitivity
  • Dry and yellow skin

Also read: What Is "Clean Eating"? Does It Lead To Eating Disorders?

Causes of OSFED

From genetics to family history and temperament to low self-esteem, history of trauma, stress, mental health problems and problems with body image, there are several causative factors of OSFED.

Diagnosis of the condition can be done in case a person exhibits feeding and eating behavours which cause significant distress and impairment in social, occupational and other areas of life. But, they do not meet the full criteria of other eating disorders. Note that a diagnosis can be made by a person's primary health care provider.

Treatment of OSFED

Therapy, medication, education about OSFED and nutrition support can help in treating OSFED. Note that this OSFED is as serious as other eating disorders. If you feel you have symptoms mentioned above, do visit a doctor and talk about them elaborately.

Also read: Binge Eating Disorder: Symptoms, Causes And Tips To Stop


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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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