What is it?
At Treating Disorders we see anyone struggling with an unhealthy or disordered relationship with food or their bodies, mild to severe. We find that eating disorder diagnostic criteria can sometimes be overly prescriptive and misses many people who are still significantly struggling. In fact, there are more people struggling with an "atypical eating disorder" than bulimia, anorexia and binge eating disorder, which makes it more "typical" than "atypical"! This can unfortunately put some people off seeking treatment as they can feel they don't "meet the criteria". We believe everyone deserves access to treatment and would urge you to seek this as soon as possible, as the earlier the intervention the better the recovery rates. Below are some terms that you may hear that fall under the category of disordered eating:
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)
The diagnosis of "Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder" (OSFED) was previously known as "Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified" (EDNOS) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and is also commonly referred to as an "atypical eating disorder". OSFED encompasses anyone struggling with eating difficulties who does not neatly fall into other eating disorder categories. For example, someone who regularly engages in purging behaviour who does not binge eat, someone who exhibits all of the symptoms of anorexia, whose weight is within or above the normal range, or someone who may not meet the frequency or duration of difficulties for bulimia nervosa/ binge eating disorder but is still significantly struggling with binge/ purging behaviours.
Chronic or yo yo dieting
Chronic dieting is when, over a period of years, a person's world is governed by diets and food restriction, all with the goal of achieving or maintaining a certain (often unrealistic) weight or body type. Yo yo dieting is often linked to chronic dieting and is when a person goes through cycles of dieting, regaining weight and dieting again. Both chronic and yo yo dieting can lead to adverse health consequences and have a negative impact on someone's quality of life.
People suffering with orthorexia have an unhealthy preoccupation with eating only healthy or "clean-eating" foods. This goes above and beyond that of a healthy eating plan, leading individuals to feel extremely anxious or guilty if they eat food they perceive to be "unhealthy". It might also lead to physical difficulties if an individual has cut out essential nutrients or whole food groups.
What is the best treatment for disordered eating?
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2017)
guidelines recommend that you seek treatments recommended for
the type of eating disorder your symptoms are most similar to.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Enhanced for eating disorders is
the recommended treatment for binge/ purge presentations in
addition to being recommended for more restrictive type eating
NICE Guidelines for other eating disorders:
Beat Eating Disorders - UK Eating Disorders Charity with helpful advice, support and resources: