Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), is simply the undergoing of the repetitive cycle of restrictive dieting, binge eating, purging and then succumbing to self scolding psychologically.
It is a display of symptoms associated with several eating disorders, while not completely matching the diagnostic criteria for a specific eating disorder. EDNOS could range from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder to Night Eating Disorder and Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake (AFRID).
Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) now being referred to as Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED), can be complex to diagnose even for clinicians.
Let’s meet a friend.
“I’m Noah and here is my journey through EDNOS:
I grew up being known as the overweight kid in the neighborhood I lived in with my family. I was bullied verbally most times and that went on for about five years till I was seventeen. I hated my body and had begun counting every calorie that went into my mouth, restricting my eating to the barest minimum. By the age of eighteen, I took things to the next level. The funny thing is all the while, I went through never-ending cycles of restrictive dieting, binge eating, purging, and then repeat,
I never looked underweight or anorexic.
So it was hard for family and friends to tell the struggle and self-starvation I was going through.
This was great for me. From just a thought, it became a second nature till I eventually degraded to EDNOS, I was never it aware could affect my health. I constantly judged and punished myself for being greedy each time I binge ate and attached my self worth to my mates who had great bodies and seemed to be having a great life because of that.
At twenty-two, I was diagnosed with EDNOS. That was when my journey to a healthy recovery began”.
Diagnosis of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
Here are the notable points from Noah’s experience, which are common with individuals struggling with EDNOS.
- EDNOS is more of a mixed disorder with no particular stand for a single disorder.
- He was displaying Atypical Anorexia Nervosa, where even with weight loss he still weighed within the normal range.
- He purged himself (Bulimia Nervosa), as often as he went through binge eating episodes (Binge Eating Disorder).
- He displayed a symptom of Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake (AFRID).
Most at times, these are the common diagnostic criteria of ENOS/OSFED. At other times, they could include more such as Night Eating Syndrome.
Symptoms of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
We are already conversant with other eating disorders like anorexia, BED, and Bulimia being helpful in EDNOS diagnosis, but if still suspicious, these are the signs to be on the lookout for:
- Unhealthy concerns about weight and body shape.
- Changes in eating/feeding behaviors such as the denial of being famished, and fears of eating out.
- Changes in socio-behavioral engagements such as unusual withdrawals from social engagements, mood swings and always sorting to be left alone.
- Changes in physical appearances: Insomnia, unusual weight losses and adding of weight, dizziness, dry skin, hair, and brittle nails, teeth discoloration from purging and more.
Associated Health Risks with EDNOS
If not immediately controlled, EDNOS can cause an individual to develop into a full display of the criteria of the other eating disorders. Thus, this would lead to him/her being exposed to the associated risk factors of these eating disorders.
These common health risks include cardiovascular disease, stroke and hypertension, diabetes (type II), obesity-associated health conditions, insomnia, muscle, and joint ache, and gut pains.
Individuals susceptible to EDNOS are mostly those with less spotlight, in terms of resources, research, and access to pieces of information, such as children, and individuals from ethnic minorities.
Ways to control of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
The recovery of individuals struggling with EDNOS is common, as about 50% of individuals diagnosed with eating disorders are found to be with EDNOS. Helpful treatment ranges from those similar to binge eating and other eating disorders. They include:
- Medications: This is an alternative to behavioral therapy, but with only short term effects, and the possibilities of side effects.
- Seek therapeutic support: There are support systems available which help reduce the impact of stress, boredom or loneliness in the fight against EDNOS. The help of a therapist will help unravel the psychology triggering you to overeat. Also, the singular or combined application of sessions to sort out discords in the individual’s mental reasoning, social relationships and coping mechanisms against stress and other sporadic environmental forces.
- Avoid labels: This might be as a result of social stigmatizations or a self-proclamation, but it never helps but exacerbates it all.
In conclusion, we mustn’t categorize each eating disorder (BED, compulsive eating, anorexia, and bulimia) any less than the other, but view them as they all are. These disorders stem from similar psychological illnesses with health complications and emotional instability stemming from pain, anger, low self-esteem, and the need to cope.
You’re not alone, the best way out is to reach within yourself while accepting help.