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What is Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder?

by Amanda Collins

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) is a mental health condition that features distinctive symptoms that come from a number of eating disorders. Basically, it is a combination eating disorder.

Sufferers of OSFED can feel trapped by their condition, obsessed with weight loss, exercise, binging and purging while at the same time feeling racked with shame, guilt, self-loathing and a constant negative soundtrack in their minds telling them they are not worthy, not good enough and that they are completely out of control.

All this is compounded by the fact that they don’t “fit in” to one of the traditional eating disorder categories. Often this means that they are unaware that they have a serious condition, and that they need to get help.

But the good news is that there is hope, there is help available, and that full recovery is possible. The journey to wellness begins with recognising the symptoms of OSFED and seeking the guidance of a doctor.

eating disorder help

To help sufferers take the first step, we have compiled a list of the common symptoms of OSFED. Keep in mind though, sufferers may not have every symptom, but they will have a number of them.

Signs of Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder

Physical:

  • Fast weight loss and serious fluctuations in weight and body shape
  • Changes in menstrual cycle (for females)
  • Decreased libido
  • Gets sick frequently
  • Swollen cheeks or jaw
  • Swelling around the cheeks or jaw
  • Damaged knuckles or teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Light-headedness, fainting or frequent dizzy spells

 

Mental:

  • Obsession with food, eating, weight, shape and exercise
  • Low self-esteem and self-loathing
  • Distorted body image
  • Increased sensitivity to comments about weight and food
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Hard to concentrate, fuzzy thinking
  • Depression
  • Shame, particularly around food and weight
  • Black and white thinking about food (food is either good or bad)

 

Behaviour:

  • Extreme dieting
  • Binge eating
  • Frequent visits to the toilet shortly after meals
  • Excessive exercising
  • Changes in meal times
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • Changes in food preferences
  • Compulsive behaviours with food (eating at the same time every day, cutting food into very small bites, etc.)
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Secrecy around food
  • Lying about eating
  • Fixation with making food for others
  • Obsessed with nutrition
  • Overly concerned with weight and shape

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