OSFED and College Students

College students coping

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Thanks to the advancements in the field of eating disorders, there is now more information on these devastating mental illnesses that impact countless of individuals. The main types of eating disorders that are commonly known include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

What about those types of individuals who struggle with a feeding or eating issue that does not fall within the criteria of one of these eating disorders?

Another category of eating disorders that is not as commonly known includes Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders, or OSFED. This category of eating disorders is replaces a former categorization of eating disorders known as Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 Edition).

Eating disorders that fall within this category do impair an individual physically, emotionally, and psychologically but may not meet the criteria for another type of eating of feeding disorder.

OSFED Examples

Some of the examples of OSFED include the following types of feeding and eating disorders:

  • Bulimia Nervosa (with typical behaviors, such as binging and purging, that are less frequent
  • Atypical Anorexia Nervosa (behaviors of anorexia nervosa where weight is not below normal)
  • Binge eating disorder (Typical behaviors observed with binge eating with less frequent occurrences)
  • Night eating syndrome (eating a majority of calories or excessive consumption of calories at nighttime)
  • Purging disorder (repeated purging behaviors without binge eating component)
  • Avoidant/restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Eating hall at Victoria CollegeMany factors can contribute to the development of an eating disorder like OSFED, including both environmental and biological issues. Transitional periods, like going to college, can be a trigger time for individuals who are susceptible to developing eating disorders.

If you are a college student and have found yourself struggling with abnormal eating behaviors, it is important to take these symptoms seriously. Many individuals might assume that they are not “sick enough” to have an eating disorder, like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.

However, if disruptions in your eating habits have negatively affected your mental, physical, and emotional well-being in any way, it is important to seek out immediate help.

Consider reaching out to the wellness center on campus to get connected with a therapist or counselor or to find out more resources for eating disorder treatment. Early identification and intervention can help you better manage whatever eating disorder you may be face.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What do you think can be done to raise more awareness about OSFED?

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Crystal Karges

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 2, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Eating Disorder Hope in 2005, driven by a profound desire to help those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This passion resulted from her battle with, and recovery from, an eating disorder. As president, Jacquelyn manages Ekern Enterprises, Inc. and the Eating Disorder Hope website.