Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) is catch all diagnosis used to identify eating disorders that do not typically fall within the strict diagnostic criteria used to identify anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Previously known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), the diagnosis was changed for the most recent edition of the DSM.

In our practice we encounter many patients who do not fit the diagnostic criteria for named eating disorders, and yet are experiencing an eating disorder. For example, the eating disorder colloquially identified as “bulimarexia” would fall under the OSFED diagnosis.

It is important to note, that just because an eating disorder does not fall within the strict diagnostic criteria of specifically named disorders, does not mean that the disorder is any less deadly. OSFED can encompass unique characteristics of multiple disorders, with multiple health consequences.

According to NEDA, children hospitalized for EDNOS/OSFED had just as many medical complications as children hospitalized for anorexia nervosa. Further, adults with ‘atypical’ or ‘subclinical’ anorexia and/or bulimia scored just as high on measures of eating disorder thoughts and behaviors as those with DSM-diagnosed anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Patients with OSFED are just as likely to die as a result of their eating disorder as people with anorexia or bulimia. Therefore, early detection and treatment is key.

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