OSFED Warning Signs
OSFED, or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder, is a classification given to a person who has disordered eating but does not present with symptoms that would place them in a category such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. OSFED (formerly known as EDNOS) is more common in women, especially young women, than in men, but like anorexia and bulimia, it can occur in anyone of any age or sex. Women with OSFED may be of normal weight, but their eating has become highly erratic or tightly controlled. Some women describe riding a roller coaster in which they may binge for a time followed by a plunge into strictly controlled food intake.
Most typically, eating disorders like OSFED begin in adolescence or young adulthood. The signs and symptoms of OSFED are very similar to those for bulimia and anorexia and can include:
- A constant awareness, bordering on obsession with food, calorie counting, exercise and weight
- Behaviors that are meant to compensate for eating, which can include vomiting, using laxatives or exercising
- Disappearance of food in large quantities, spending a lot of time alone or spending a long period of time eating
- Restricting food intake and calorie consumption
- Cycles of restricting food, binging, feelings of shame and guilt and then purging
- Strict rules about food, such as foods that can never be eaten, times of day to avoid eating, etc.
- Using food to cope with unpleasant emotions or finding satisfaction from exerting control through food
Unfortunately, it usually isn’t until the person passes out in front of others, habitually eats alone or reveals worrisome weight losses that others begin to realize there is a serious problem.