Eating Disorders

What is Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder?

Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED) is an eating disorder classification for those who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for any other eating disorders. OSFED has replaced “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)” in The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM-IV). 

Individuals with OSFED commonly present with extremely disturbed eating habits, a distorted body image, overvaluation of body shape and weight, and an intense fear of gaining weight. OSFED is the most common eating disorder diagnosed for adults as well as adolescents and affects both males and females.


A diagnosis of OSFED doesn’t mean someone has a less severe eating disorder. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, a person must present with “clinically significant distress and impairment, but do not meet the full criteria for any of the other disorders.” Here are a few examples of how OSFED might present:

  1. Bulimia Nervosa (of low frequency and/or limited duration): An individual meets the criteria for bulimia but engages in binging or purging behaviors at a lower frequency and/or for a limited period.
  2. Binge Eating Disorder (of low frequency and/or limited duration): An individual meets the criteria for binge eating disorder but engages in binging behaviors at a lower frequency and/or for a limited period. 
  3. Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: An individual has restrictive behaviors and other symptoms of anorexia, however, they do not meet the low weight criteria.
  4. Purging Disorder: A person has recurring episodes of purging without binge eating. 
  5. Night Eating Syndrome: A person has recurrent episodes of night eating. The night eating isn’t better explained by other factors.

These are just a few examples; someone might present in a different way. If a person doesn’t meet the criteria for another eating disorder like binge eating disorder, bulimia, or anorexia, they might be diagnosed with OSFED.

Warning Signs & Symptoms

Individuals with OSFED all share the common trait of having disordered thoughts and behaviors about food and eating. Here are a few of the warning signs of OSFED:

  • Preoccupation with food and eating
  • Preoccupation with body shape or weight
  • Extreme body dissatisfaction
  • Having a distorted body image.
  • Depression, anxiety or irritability
  • Heightened anxiety and/or irritability around meal times
  • Refuses to eat certain categories of foods
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of shame, self-loathing or guilt

Risks & Complications

There is a general lack of understanding regarding the severity of OSFED and the importance of professional treatment for those grappling with disorders that fall under this category. A common misconception about OSFED is that it’s not severe, and some believe that people with OSFED do not need treatment.

Delaying treatment can result in developing co-occurring disorders or worsening the severity of the current disorder, and people with OSFED need treatment just as much as those with any other eating disorder.