OSFED stands for Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders.
A person with Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED) may present with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder but will not meet the full criteria for diagnosis of these disorders.
This does not mean that the person has a less serious eating disorder. OSFED is a serious mental illness that occurs in adults, adolescents and children. Around 30% of people who seek treatment for an eating disorder have OSFED.
People with OSFED commonly present with extremely disturbed eating habits, and/or a distorted body image and/or overvaluation of shape and weight and/or an intense fear of gaining weight (if underweight). OSFED is the most common eating disorder diagnosed for adults as well as adolescents, and affects both males and females.
Having awareness about eating disorders and the warning signs and symptoms can make a marked difference to the severity and duration of the illness. Seeking help at the first warning sign is much more effective than waiting until the illness is in full swing.
The warning signs of OSFED can be physical, psychological and behavioural. It is possible for someone with OSFED to display a combination of these symptoms
The risks associated with OSFED are severe. People with OSFED will experience risks similar to those of the eating disorder their behaviours most closely resemble:
While the goal of diagnosis is to accurately describe symptoms and seek the right help for them, a large number of people have other significant eating and feeding issues and distorted body image which are not covered by these categories.
As a result of the atypical nature of OSFED, it is most effective to follow the treatments recommended for the eating disorder that most closely resembles the individual person’s eating problem. For example, if a person presents with many but not all of the symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa, it is recommended for that person to seek the same treatment approaches recommended for people with Bulimia Nervosa.
Yes. It is possible to recover from OSFED, even if you have been living with the illness for many years. The path to recovery can be very challenging. However, with the right team and a high level of personal commitment, recovery is an achievable goal. Treatments for OSFED are available; seek help from a professional with specialised knowledge in eating disorders.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has OSFED, it is important to seek help immediately. The earlier you seek help the closer you are to recovery. While your GP may not be a specialist in eating disorders, they are a good ‘first base’ and can refer you to a practitioner with specialised knowledge in health, nutrition and eating disorders.
For support, information, access to resources or referrals, you can also contact Butterfly's National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (8am-midnight, AEST, 7 days a week), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use webchat.
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