OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder)
Definition: OSFED, or other specified feeding and eating disorder, is a term given to a type of eating disorder that may show aspects of different eating disorders or doesn’t fit the criteria of one single disorder.
OSFED, or sometimes referred to as UFED or unspecified feeding or eating disorder and previously known as EDNOS or eating disorder not otherwise specified, is a type of eating disorder that may fall into several types of other diagnoses or not meet the full criteria of a specific eating disorder diagnosis. It’s important to note, however, that this does not mean that having OSFED is any less serious than any other eating disorder.
Anyone can be impacted by OSFED. People from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, abilities, and more can and do struggle with this illness.
People with OSFED will experience symptoms in different ways and there isn’t one distinct diagnostic criteria. This doesn’t make anyone’s journey anymore or less valid, it’s just important to remember that your own journey is unique to you.
- Restricting food intake
- Binge eating
- Social withdrawal
- Issues with body image
- Purging behaviours
- Hoarding food for later
- Exercising excessively
- Loss of appetite and/or denying feelings of hunger
- Night eating behaviours, such as restricting food during the day and then binge eating at night
- Having an obsession with healthy foods
- Unusual or rigid habits around food and eating
- Regurgitation behaviours (with no medical cause)
People may experience some or all of the above symptoms. In some individuals, there may be additional symptoms including anxiety, depression, and others.
It’s important to note that having OSFED, or any eating disorder, doesn’t have a ‘look’. Weight loss and changes in appearance are side effects and are not part of the disorder itself. If you’re struggling with disordered eating urges, habits, or thoughts, you ARE sick enough and deserve proper care and support.
Eating disorder recovery entails working both on one’s physical and mental health and each journey will be unique to an individual. Treatments can include:
Some individuals may benefit from certain medications, such as antidepressants, to help with symptoms. In some cases, weight restoration may need to be the first step of recovery. This helps an individual to get to a weight that is healthy for their body and prevents any further physical damage. This then can lead to further treatments, as mentioned above.
It’s best to talk to your health team when looking at treatment options. They can recommend and guide you through what could be the best fit for you and your well-being.
I have a loved one experiencing OSFED, how can I help?
If you have a loved one who is struggling, having an open conversation about how you can best support them can mean the world. For example, asking how you can best support them on their journey. You could offer to help with chores, send them a message to let them know you’re thinking of them, etc. Simply being a friend can often be the best thing to do. Maybe even working on a well-being plan with your loved one that may be useful to both of you.
Understanding this condition is also immensely helpful. It can help you and your loved one to better work with what they’re going through. Realizing that their eating disorder is an illness and not them can also be useful to both of you. It’s equally important to also remember to take time out for yourself for self-care.
It’s important for those struggling to know that you can fight and recover from OSFED. You can find ways to heal from it. There is always hope and people who care about you who will support you on your journey.
Voices of Hope wants you to know that your life has value and you deserve to get the help, care, and support you need. You can fight OSFED and you can heal from it and live the life you want to. We understand how difficult mental illnesses can be, but you are worthy, and you are strong. You can get through this. Reach out and keep fighting. You are not alone in your fight. We believe in you. And remember that there is ALWAYS hope.
Resources and Links:
- Love Your Kite
- Butterfly Foundation - OSFED
- Bite Back by Sarah Harry
- The Mighty - OSFED
- ED.org - Getting Help
- Eating Disorder Hope - OSFED
- Eating Recovery Center - OSFED
- Verywell Mind - OSFED
- The Body Love Society
Voices of Hope does not offer direct mental health services and our team is not comprised of trained mental health professionals. If you require assistance, we recommend visiting our resources page for helpful information.
If you are in immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, or need advice for someone in your life that is at risk of immediate harm to themselves, please contact your local emergency services.