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OSFED/EDNOS - Atypical Eating Disorder Treatment in Woking

Some eating disorders do not fit neatly into the common diagnostic categories of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder (BED). Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED), also known as ‘eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)’ or ‘atypical eating disorders’, are associated with irregular eating and have features that closely resemble anorexia, bulimia or BED, but do not meet the exact requirements that are needed in order to receive a formal diagnosis of one of these eating disorders. It is estimated that around half of all people with an eating disorder fall into this group. OSFED might be present if an individual:

  • Has a low body weight, but one that is just above the threshold for a diagnosis of anorexia
  • Engages in bingeing and purging behaviours, but only on an infrequent basis
  • Has a preoccupation with weight, size and body shape, but no other symptoms
  • Is extremely underweight as a woman, but menstruation (periods) still takes place

Many people with OSFED have previously experienced anorexia, bulimia or BED or may go on to be diagnosed with one of these disorders at some point in the future.

At Life Works, we understand that OSFED are no less serious that other formal eating disorder diagnoses, and still have the potential to cause a whole host of physical and psychological problems.

Our eating disorder team at Life Works in Woking, consisting of specialist psychiatrists, therapists, nurses and a remote dietitian, have extensive experience in treating eating disorders that are more atypical in nature, and are dedicated to delivering a personalised blend of therapeutic techniques to help you to overcome your dysfunctional eating habits. We also ensure that you are placed at the centre of your OSFED treatment and recovery journey, meaning that you will benefit from a bespoke treatment package.

Importance of early access to treatment for OSFED

It is important to understand that without specialist support, OSFED have the potential to become increasingly more severe over time and can have a hugely detrimental impact on your health, wellbeing and quality of life. Additionally, without expert help, atypical eating disorders may develop into serious cases of anorexia, bulimia and BED, which is why it’s so important to access treatment as early as possible. At Life Works, we understand that it can be difficult and overwhelming to accept that you have an eating disorder.

Our free eating disorder assessment aims to make the process of seeking support as simple and as straightforward as possible. The assessment helps us to review your suitability for eating disorder treatment. It also provides you with the chance to ask any questions that you may have on the treatment and therapy process, and develop a more detailed understanding of the journey that you could be taking towards overcoming OSFED. 

Our rehab centre in Woking, set within a beautiful building and surrounded by attractive landscaped grounds, offers a compassionate, supportive and non-judgemental environment in which to receive treatment, and provides the ideal setting for you to address your challenges and take steps towards the healthy and fulfilling life that you deserve.

Treatment for OSFED at Life Works in Surrey

Treatment for OSFED at Life Works is underpinned by the same principles that we use when treating anorexia, bulimia and BED. Treatment is comprised of the same interventions that are successful in treating other eating disorders, and the goal of treatment is to help our clients to address the underlying causes and triggers for their unhealthy eating habits and take steps towards recovery and wellbeing. All treatment is personalised according to our clients’ unique presentations and symptoms, in order to produce the best possible outcomes for each individual who seeks help and support with us.

FREE Eating Disorder Assessment

Living with an atypical eating disorder can be challenging, but Life Works' specialists can offer various treatments to help overcome the disorder. Book a free assessment today to find out how Life Works can help you. 


Treatment and counselling for OSFED

Treatment for OSFED at Life Works consists of a wide range of established techniques. These include:

A variety of practical dietetic techniques, designed to help to gradually expose you to the concepts of healthy eating, diet and nutrition. These include:

  • Personalised meal plans
  • Weekly shopping groups
  • Weekly cooking groups
  • Weekly psycho-educational groups, specific to eating disorders

A range of therapeutic approaches which are specific to eating disorder clients:

  • Body image/acceptance groups
  • Drama and movement therapy
  • Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) informed groups
  • Understanding emotions groups
  • Relapse prevention groups
  • Meal and post-meal support, with input from the full multidisciplinary team

Other therapeutic interventions which can be used for both eating disorder and addiction clients:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) informed groups
  • Art informed therapy
  • Shiatsu
  • Somatic movement
  • Mindfulness
  • Drama therapy

OSFED treatment at Life Works can take place in a number of different formats including group therapy, one-to-one therapy and family work. We also offer a range of treatment options depending on the level of support that you require. These options range from intensive inpatient treatment, through to day care and outpatient treatment. You can read more about these different treatment options on our approach to eating disorder treatment page. 

Not only does OSFED have a severely disruptive impact on your life, but it can also have a detrimental effect on the lives of the people who are closest to you. That’s why we also offer an exceptional family programme to our OSFED clients, involving your family and friends within the treatment process and providing them with care, support and education about the nature of your eating disorder and how you can look after each other. In addition, we are committed to your ongoing recovery, which is why we offer free aftercare for 12 months, for all clients who stay with us for 28 days or more.

What are the most common signs and symptoms of OSFED?

Due to the indefinite symptoms of OSFED, it is useful to be mindful of the symptoms that are associated with anorexia, bulimia and BED, as these can manifest within atypical eating disorders. For more information on these symptoms, you can click on the links below:

A useful way of identifying whether you may be struggling with OSFED is to keep meal and mood diaries. These can help you to spot destructive eating habits or unhealthy thought patterns that may indicate that an eating disorder is present. Try asking yourself:

  • Do I often go for long periods of time being severely underweight and then severely overweight?
  • Have my eating habits changed in a way that is uncharacteristic for me?
  • Do I go out as much, or have I lost interest in my social life?
  • Do I find myself avoiding my family and friends?

If any of these characteristics sound familiar, it may be that you have developed an atypical eating disorder.

This page was reviewed by David WallerEating Disorder Programme Lead Therapist, (BACP, FDAP) in October 2021.

Contact Life Works Today

To discuss how the Life Works team can help to support individuals and families dealing with an eating disorder, and for further information on treatment and rehabilitation programmes, please call: 01483 745 066 or click here to make an enquiry.

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