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Signs & symptoms of OSFED (EDNOS / Atypical)

Do I have a problem with OSFED?

Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED), which may also be known as 'atypical' or ‘eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)', refers to behaviour or eating patterns that are characteristic of some or all eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating. For example, an individual may purge (rid themselves of food and therefore calories they have consumed) through vomiting or using laxatives, however, unlike a bulimic, he / she does not binge eat.

A person with OSFED may not experience these behaviours as frequently or severely as individuals whose eating patterns meet the diagnostic criteria for particular eating disorders. This can make it difficult to identify and diagnose OSFED.

Signs and Symptoms of OSFED

  • Your eating patterns may fit some but not all the criteria of a particular eating disorder – for example, your behaviour may be characteristic of anorexia but you may binge.
  • You may be able to relate to a number of behaviours that are each characteristic of different eating disorders - for example, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating.
  • You have binged (overeaten in a short time) or restricted your food intake (cut out certain foods or avoided eating altogether) to try and control your weight.
  • You may have had periods of being underweight and overweight, or you may have ‘yo-yo’ dieted, where you lost weight and then put it on again later – and you often repeat this cycle.
  • You are doing less of the things that were important to you, for example, seeing friends or family, going out or enjoying hobbies.
  • You have missed family birthdays or meeting up with friends so you could avoid food or having to eat in front of others, or so that you could be alone and eat what you wanted, away from other people.
  • There are aspects of your physical appearance that you really dislike.
  • You focus more on what you dislike about your physical appearance than on what you like.
  • Negative thoughts about your body keep repeating in your head.
  • You avoid certain social situations or activities because of how you feel about your body.
  • Your thoughts and feelings about how you look affect how you feel about yourself.

Symptomatic Denial

Denial is common and symptomatic of OSFED, so you may deny that you have a problem both to yourself and to others, through:

  • Minimising the impact of your disordered eating on your health.
  • Criticising those around you for making too much fuss about your eating habits.
  • Concealing your disordered eating from your loved ones
  • Placing the blame for your disordered eating on other people or situations in your life, such as “I restrict my eating because my job stresses me out”.
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