Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED)

OSFED is when people have symptoms that are typical of a eating disorder but do not meet the full criteria. Discover more about the symptoms, causes and our highly specialised treatments at Schoen Clinic.


Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED), previously known as EDNOS, is when people have symptoms that are typical of a feeding or eating disorder but do not meet the full criteria for any of the diagnostic categories of defined specific eating disorders. These symptoms cause significant distress or difficulty in social, occupational or other important areas of one’s life.

Causes & Symptoms

Causes of OSFED

As with other eating disorders, there is not one definitive cause for OSFED. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of one having an eating disorder. These are as follows:

  • Genetic vulnerability: sometimes illustrated by family history of eating disorders, or other mental health disorders.
  • Societal or occupational pressure to look a certain way.
  • Experience of trauma, including abuse.
  • Experience of anxiety, obsessional or perfectionistic traits.
  • Experience of depression or low self-esteem.
  • Experience of criticism of own food intake, weight or bodily appearance, for example, bullying.


OSFED Symptoms

The symptoms of OSFED are highly variable but will be similar to the disorder that it most-resembles.


Warning Signs

If you worry that a friend or loved one is experiencing an eating disorder, there are signs you can look out for. These do not guarantee your loved one has OSFED but can be indicative:

  • Issues with eating socially.
  • They are expressing excessive concern about their body weight, or shape.
  • Evidence of them eating large amounts of food (e.g. food wrappers in the bin, or through food missing in the kitchen).
  • Disappearing during or soon after mealtimes.
  • Anxiety around mealtimes.
  • Evidence of weight change.
  • Evidence of purging behaviours (e.g. finding laxative tablets, smell of vomit).

If you feel these may apply to your friend or loved one, it is always best to talk to them about it in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental manner and support and encourage them in getting the help that they need, making sure you are there for them emotionally throughout their journey to recovery. Try to educate yourself about eating disorders before approaching the topic with your loved one to understand better what they may be going through. Talk somewhere private and comfortable, at a time of low distress (i.e. not directly before or after a meal).

Don’t wait too long to approach the subject with them, as the earlier they get help, the better their chances of recovery. However, you must aim to not be too pushy with how you say this, as saying something along the lines of “you need to get help now” can feel harsh and blunt. Aim for something softer but still motivational, such as “I’ll be here to support you in going to get help when you’re ready to do so”.

Examples of diagnoses within the OSFED category

  • Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: all of the criteria for anorexia is met, except that weight is above or within a normal range despite major weight loss.
  • Bulimia Nervosa (of low frequency and/or limited duration): All the criteria for bulimia is met, but the frequency of bingeing or purging is below the diagnostic threshold (i.e. less than once a week for three months).
  • Binge-Eating Disorder (of low frequency and/or limited duration): All the criteria Binge-Eating Disorder is met, except the frequency of bingeing is below the diagnostic threshold (e.g. less than once a week for three months).
  • Purging Disorder: Recurrent purging behaviour to influence weight or shape (e.g. self-induced vomiting, laxative misuse or misuse of other medications) without the bingeing of bulimia or other notable associated symptoms of anorexia.
  • Night Eating Syndrome: Recurrent episodes of night eating: eating after awaking from sleep or following the evening meal. There is awareness and memory of the episode. The night eating must not be better explained by Binge-Eating Disorder, external influences (e.g. changes to sleep cycle


The treatments and support we provide

We provide a very comprehensive and holistic range of interventions and support. This means we are able to find the mechanisms for recovery, which will be different for each patient. Everyone will have a highly personalised treatment programme. 

The programme is reviewed every week by the patient’s multi-disciplinary team (MDT), encompassing the different professionals involved in their care. Our MDT consists of: consultant psychiatrist, psychotherapist/psychologist, family therapist, occupational therapist, dietician. The MDT is at the centre of our approach, ensuring all the progress made across the programme is understood, built upon and applied. Our model provides consistency and continuity. 

Individual programmes are tailor-made to each patient’s needs and progress. The following provides a guide to the typical building blocks of our day treatment programmes at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, all of which include a number of weekly 1:1 sessions with members of the MDT. For information about our treatment programmes at Schoen Clinic York, call us at +44 190 440 4400.

  Full-day Programme Half-day Programme
Days Monday to Friday Monday to Friday
Hours 8 hours per day 4 - 5 hours per day
Programme Length Up to 6 weeks Up to 6 weeks
Detail group therapy 5 - 6 sessions  3 - 4 sessions
Daily meals
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Snack
  • Dinner
  • Snacks

We provide the following therapies and interventions. These may be delivered on a 1:1 or group basis by members of the MDT.


Psycho-education Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) Mindfulness
Relapse prevention Self-esteem / resilience Movement
Body Image  (Over-) Exercising  Food preparation / cooking
Applied relaxation Art / drama Interpersonal therapy
Social issues Family therapy Maudsley Anorexia Treatment for Adults (Mantra)


Dr Andrea Brown

Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist MBChB FRCS MRCPsych MPhil

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Dr Helen Murphy

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Ms Gabriele Malinauskaite

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Ms Jessica Hoskins

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01904 404400