When it comes to eating disorders, everyone has heard of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. However, these are not the only types of eating disorders that exist.
EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) or now recognised as OSFED (other specified feeding or eating disorder) is the most common type of eating disorder and the most deadly – but no one seems to know about it or its consequences!
A person with 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. Diagnoses that fit within this criteria include atypical anorexia (anorexic behaviours but a normal weight), atypical bulimia (less frequent behaviours), purging disorder (vomiting without binging), and night eating syndrome (excessively eating after bed time).
This does not mean that the person has a less serious eating disorder.
OSFED is the most common eating disorder and the most deadliest.
It has a mortality rate of 5.2 percent — higher than both anorexia and bulimia — despite the fact its sufferers often look healthy.
Signs that a person is struggling with OSFED
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:
- Weight loss, weight gain or weight fluctuations
- Loss of or disturbance of menstrual periods in girls and women and decreased libido in men
- Compromised immune system (e.g. getting sick more often)
- Signs of damage due to vomiting including swelling around the cheeks or jaw, calluses on knuckles, damage to teeth and bad breath
- Fainting and dizziness as a result of dehydration
- Preoccupation with food and eating
- Preoccupation with body shape and weight (in men this can be a preoccupation with increasing muscle bulk)
- Extreme body dissatisfaction
- Having a distorted body image (e.g. seeing themselves as overweight even if they are in a healthy weight range for their age and height)
- Sensitivity to comments relating to food, weight, body shape or exercise
- Heightened anxiety and/or irritability around meal times
- Depression, anxiety or irritability
- Low self esteem and feelings of shame, self loathing or guilt
- ‘Black and white’ thinking – rigid thoughts about food being ‘good’ or ‘bad’
- Dieting behaviour (e.g. fasting, counting calories/kilojoules, avoiding food groups such as fats and carbohydrates)
- Evidence of binge eating (e.g. disappearance or hoarding of food)
- Frequent trips to the bathroom during or shortly after meals which could be evidence of vomiting or laxative use
- Compulsive or excessive exercising (e.g. exercising in bad weather, continuing to exercise when sick or injured, and experiencing distress if exercise is not possible)
- Eating at unusual times and/or after going to sleep at night
- Changes in food preferences (e.g. claiming to dislike foods previously enjoyed, sudden preoccupation with ‘healthy eating’, or replacing meals with fluids)
- Obsessive rituals around food preparation and eating (e.g. eating very slowly, cutting food into very small pieces, insisting that meals are served at exactly the same time everyday)
- Anti-social behaviour, particularly around meal times, and withdrawal from social situations involving food
- Secretive behaviour around food (e.g. saying they have eaten when they haven’t, hiding uneaten food in their rooms)
- Increased interest in food preparation (e.g. planning, buying, preparing and cooking meals for others but not actually consuming; interest in cookbooks, recipes and nutrition)
- Increased interest and focus on body shape and weight (e.g. interest in weight loss websites, books, magazines or images of thin people)
- Repetitive or obsessive behaviours relating to body shape and weight (e.g. weighing themselves repeatedly, looking in the mirror obsessively and pinching waist or wrists)
- Increased isolation, spending more and more time alone and avoiding previously enjoyed activities
Where to go for help:
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 formally trained in detecting the presence of an eating disorder, he/she is a good ‘first base.’ A GP can refer you on to a practitioner with specialised knowledge in eating disorders.
find your local eating disorder service here
It’s an obvious fact that mental health treatment is underfunded in the UK, but the true extent of this under funding has only become more apparent to me in the last couple of weeks.
My mental health has turned downhill gradually over the year and more so in the last few months that I’ve needed to go and seek help for it again. The hardest thing in the world is to go to a doctor and tell them you’re there because your mental health is poor. It’s one of the hardest things to do, especially if you have anxiety and hate the thought of going there. The even harder thing is going and knowing that you possibly may not even get the help you need because of stigma, misunderstanding, the area you’re in and the lack of funding.
Mental health care is a like a lottery. If you live in the right area, you may have access to the help you need. Other areas have less funding and less mental health services available. It makes me feel really sad.
It’s so frustrating. It’s agonising when you’re sat through a suicide crisis at 2:30am in the morning and theres no help at all. The helplines shut at midnight, your GP is closed and you’re too afraid to call out of hours. You feel like your mental health problem is not serious enough for A&E and think the staff there will assume you’re wasting their time. Anyone whose been in this position will know how frightening this situation is…
I’m really hoping one day this will change. I want to make that change. I want to advocate. I want to educate. I want to raise awareness. I want to offer support. I don’t want people to feel like they’re ever alone. I want people to know that someone, somewhere, loves them and cares about their safety.
For help and support visit my mental health support page or email me.
When “I” is replaced by “We” even Illness becomes Wellness.
I was on instagram last night when I went onto my instagram profile. I decided to just stroll through my pictures and found some from 2014/2015. For those who know me, you’ll understand that during this time I was in the depths of my eating disorder. At the time, I didn’t really know this. I thought I was okay. I thought I was better than I’d ever been. How wrong I was though. June 2014 consisted of doctors appointments, hospital appointments, blood tests, scans, meetings with college, intervention from community mental health teams and social services. My weight was drastically dropping by each day. The calories kept getting lower and lower.
Whilst going through those pictures last night; I had the realisation that I was actually really sick back then. How I had managed to feel so healthy I have no idea. How did I survive on no calories for a week? How did I manage to exercise every waking hour of the day?
I knew that I was sick, I just don’t think I realised how sick I was. I thought I was getting healthy and stronger, not unhealthy and weaker. I remember getting every single illness going; my immune system was very weak. I was always cold yet I still took freezing showers. My muscles always ached and bruised but I would walk for hours on end.
All I wanted to do was sleep and food plagued every single thought.
Anorexia is such a wretched disease.
It stops its victims even noticing theres something wrong. It refuses to let them see their true self or feel any sort of happiness.
Anorexia is strong, but Savannah is stronger.
I’ve decided to set up a project that allows others to express their thoughts and feelings. I understand that it can be difficult to set up a blog and led the entire world read your deepest thoughts and feelings, which is why I created the #ThisIsMe Project. The project will share the stories of others on this blog. You can remain totally anonymous which means you can blog to your hearts content and share your views without feeling exposed!
This project is open to anybody who suffers from a condition and who wants to share their story. Conditions can range from mental health conditions and illness, autism spectrum disorders and sensory disorders.
Interested or want to know more?
Email email@example.com now!
I look forward to hearing from you!
Ps, please share this blog post to let others know about the project!
Thank you to selflovdiva for nominating me for this award. She has asked me to answer the following 11 questions:
- Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in order to raise awareness for mental health problems and to help other people.
- What inspires you the most?
People who get through every single day when they’re dying inside.
- What is your favourite movie of all time?
My favourite movie…this is such a hard one as I’m such an indecisive person! But a film I would gladly watch over and over again has to be…the gruffalo.
- If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If I could go anywhere in the world I would go to Los Angeles as its a place I’ve always dreamed of going, but as I’m going to America in June this could just happen 🙂
- Your reaction when you heard you were nominated for the Liebster Award?
I was so excited and so thankful.
- How do you practice Self-Love?
In all honestly, self-love is not something I am very good at.
- What is the one biggest challenge for your blog right now?
One big challenge for this blog is being able to spread awareness and reality of mental illness without expressing my own thought processes too much.
Neither! Not a great lover of wine.
- What actor would you choose to play you in a movie or your real life?
Nikki Reed – after seeing her in Thirteen I think she’d have a good understanding of my life.
Special Educational Needs Teacher
- Describe your Future Self for me! (Character & personality wise)
My future self will hopefully be strong, helpful, a good wife, a caring mother.
Okay so now all the question’s are answered, I am going to nominate the following people who will need to answer my questions:
Rules of the award:
- You have to thank the blog that nominated you
- You have to answer the questions asked by the blog that nominated you
- You have to nominate 11 other bloggers
- You have to set new questions for your nominees
My questions to you are:
- How old were you when you started blogging?
- Why did you decide to start blogging?
- Who is your favourite blogger and why?
- If you could take your blog to any country, where would it be?
- What would you tell your future self?
- What is your favourite colour?
- Are you an organised or organised person?
- Do you have any pets?
- How old is your blog?
- What keeps you motivated to blog?
Have fun and enjoy!