Otherwise Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)
This category was created to include those patients who did not meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa but still had a significant eating disorder that could not be ignored. OSFED accounts for about 30% of all diagnosed eating disorders.
The severity of OSFED is extremely understated due to the prevalent myth that it isn’t as dangerous as other eating disorders. This has made it increasingly difficult to get insurance coverage for the same.
Because OSFED encompasses a wide variety of eating disordered behaviors, any or all of the following symptoms may be present in people with OSFED. Warning signs and symptoms include:
- Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting
- Evidence of binge eating, disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or lots of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food
- Self-esteem overly related to body image
- Dieting behavior
- Expresses a need to “burn off” calories taken in
- Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives or diuretics
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
ARFID is characterized by highly selective eating; a tendency to avoid food with a specific type of texture, smell or taste. This condition is common among children and can even persist into adulthood. If left untreated, it will cause serious malnourishment and make it difficult for the patient to gain weight.
Unlike Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa, ARFID is not driven by body image issues or a relentless pursuit of having a socially acceptable body type. Signs and symptoms include:
- Dramatic weight loss accompanied by an inability to gain weight and nutritional deficiencies
- Limited range of preferred foods that becomes narrower over time (i.e., picky eating that progressively worsens)
- Disrupted digestive system and gastrointestinal complications
- Eating abnormally slowly and having a lack of appetite
- Being paranoid choking or vomiting when presented with “fear” foods
- No fear of weight gain or loss
Pica is a compulsive eating disorder which involves the frequent ingestion of inedible, potentially dangerous substances that have no nutritional value. This condition is commonly found among pregnant women, children and people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The health risks of this disorder are largely dependent on what the patient ends up consuming. If it includes metal, chalk, dried paint or any other chemically toxic substances, then it can lead to serious stomach illnesses.
- The persistent eating, over a period of at least one month, of substances that have no nutritional value
- Typical substances ingested tend to vary with age and availability. They may include paper, soap, cloth, hair, string, wool, soil, chalk, talcum powder, paint, gum, metal, pebbles, charcoal, ash, clay, starch, or ice
This is a condition where patients involuntarily regurgitate their food and either vomit it, or re-swallow it. It roots from a dysregulation between the brain and the gastrointestinal system.
There are many other factors that make this condition worse. These include psychological triggers, nerve sensitivity in the GI tract and viral infections. Symptoms include:
- Repeated regurgitation of food for a period of at least one month. Regurgitated food may be re-chewed, re-swallowed, or spit out
- If occurring in the presence of another mental disorder (e.g., intellectual developmental disorder), it is severe enough to warrant independent clinical attention
What starts out as a good intention of eating healthy can sometimes turn into orthorexia — a condition that is characterized by an intense obsession with the quality of food. This eating disorder stems from obsessive-compulsive tendencies that the patient might have.
Typical signs and symptoms of orthorexia include:
- Cutting out an increasing number of food groups (all sugar, all carbs, all dairy, all meat, all animal products)
- An increase in concern about the health of ingredients; an inability to eat anything but a narrow group of foods that are deemed ‘healthy’ or ‘pure’
- Spending hours per day thinking about what might be served at upcoming events
- Self image concerns may or may not be present
Compulsive exercise is a condition that is similar to orthorexia, but the patient’s obsession, in this case, is with exercise. This obsession can drive the patient to a point where they feel the need to exercise even when they’re in great pain, at the cost of their own health. They fail to realize that over-exercising is actually counterproductive and has serious health consequences.
Diagnostic criteria for compulsive exercise is as follows.
- Exercise that significantly interferes with important activities, occurs at inappropriate times or in inappropriate settings, or occurs when the individual exercises despite injury or other medical complications
- Intense anxiety, depression and/or distress if unable to exercise
- Exercise takes place despite injury or fatigue
We understand why some individuals might feel embarrassed or hesitate to get help for eating disorders. However, we cannot stress enough on how important it is to get these illnesses treated in time. If you’re looking for eating disorder treatment centers, support groups, or intensive outpatient programs in San Diego, feel free to contact our team of experts.