Other Eating Disorders

The less common or less well-known eating disorders are: Orthorexia (an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating.), Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) (known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) in previous editions of the DSM.


The less common or less well-known eating disorders are: Orthorexia (an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating.), Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) (known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) in previous editions of the DSM, was developed to encompass individuals who do not meet strict criteria for anorexia or bulimia but still have a significant eating disorder), Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) (previously referred to as “selective eating disorder,” involves limitations in the amount and/or types of food consumed but does not involve any distress about body shape or size, or fears of fatness.), Pica (an eating disorder that involves eating items that are not typically thought of as food and that do not contain significant nutritional value, such as hair, dirt, and paint chips.), Rumination Disorder (involves the regular regurgitation of food that occurs for at least one month. Regurgitated food may be re-chewed, re-swallowed, or spit out.), Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED) (applies to presentations where symptoms characteristic of a feeding and eating disorder that cause clinically significant distress or impairment predominate but do not meet the full criteria for any of the disorders in the feeding and eating disorders diagnostic class.), Laxative Abuse (which is serious and dangerous involves the repeated, frequent use of laxatives to eliminate unwanted calories, lose weight, “feel thin,” or “feel empty.”) and Compulsive Exercise (extreme, excessive exercise that significantly interferes with areas of one’s life. Many people struggle with symptoms associated with this term.) are the eating disorders in this class. Definitions from The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/information-eating-disorder


  • Having a strong support network is important to recovery. Whether you’re a loved one or a professional, there are steps you can take to offer support. See How Do I Help? in resources below)
  • The chance for recovery increases the earlier an eating disorder is detected. Therefore, it is important to be aware of some of the warning signs of an eating disorder.
  • General Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder are listed below.  Keep in mind that someone struggling with an eating disorder generally won’t have all of these signs and symptoms at once, and the warning signs vary across eating disorders and don’t always fit into neat categories. Rather, these lists are intended as a general overview of the types of behaviors that may indicate a problem. (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/warning-signs-and-symptoms):

      Emotional and behavioral

      • In general, behaviors and attitudes that indicate that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns
      • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, and dieting
      • Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, etc.)
      • Appears uncomfortable eating around others
      • Food rituals (e.g. eats only a particular food or food group [e.g. condiments], excessive chewing, doesn’t allow foods to touch)
      • Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals
      • Any new practices with food or fad diets, including cutting out entire food groups (no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, vegetarianism/veganism)
      • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities
      • Frequent dieting
      • Extreme concern with body size and shape
      • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance
      • Extreme mood swings


      • Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down
      • Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.)
      • Menstrual irregularities — missing periods or only having a period while on hormonal contraceptives (this is not considered a “true” period)
      • Difficulties concentrating
      • Abnormal laboratory findings (anemia, low thyroid and hormone levels, low potassium, low white and red blood cell counts)
      • Dizziness, especially upon standing
      • Fainting/syncope
      • Feeling cold all the time
      • Sleep problems
      • Cuts and calluses across the top of finger joints (a result of inducing vomiting)
      • Dental problems, such as enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity
      • Dry skin and hair, and brittle nails
      • Swelling around area of salivary glands
      • Fine hair on body (lanugo)
      • Cavities, or discoloration of teeth, from vomiting
      • Muscle weakness
      • Yellow skin (in context of eating large amounts of carrots)
      • Cold, mottled hands and feet or swelling of feet
      • Poor wound healing
      • Impaired immune functioning



  • Early detection, initial evaluation, and effective treatment are important steps that can help an eating disorder sufferer move into recovery more quickly, preventing the disorder from progressing to a more severe or chronic state.
  • Recovery from an eating disorder can take months, even years. Slips, backslides, and relapse tend to be the rule, rather than the exception. Re-learning normal eating habits and coping skills can take a long period of time and often requires lots of support from professionals, friends, and family. Moving forward is key, however slow it might be. (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/recovery)
  • People struggling with an eating disorder have to address any immediate medical concerns caused by their disorder, work on reducing or eliminating eating disordered behaviors, address co-occurring issues like depression, anxiety, or trauma, and then develop a plan to prevent relapse. Some psychologists call recovery the process of creating a life worth living. Overcoming food and eating concerns during recovery is a central goal, but it’s far from the only task of recovery. (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/recovery)


If you have suggestions, feedback, or resources, please email counselor1stop@inspiresuccess.org and let us know.