Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) is a tricky subject to talk about since it’s considered a disorder, but one may exhibit overlapping characteristics of the anorexia, bulimia and/or binge eating category, yet they deserve equal attention and awareness. With more than 70% of eating disorders (ED) categorized as EDNOS, it’s important to note that EDNOS patients/clients can exhibit multiple ED symptoms–i.e. severe calorie restriction + bingeing/purging. Additionally, one may exhibit all anorexia nervosa (AN) symptoms, but do not have weight loss or one exhibits bulimia nervosa (BN) symptoms, but do not display inappropriate compensatory mechanisms.
Often times, ED patients are in the care of a multidisciplinary team, as it’s a serious illness and is the leading cause of mortality of psychiatric diagnosis.Specifically, EDNOS has a mortality rate of 5.2%, higher than anorexia and bulimia. If
- Exercise obsessively
- Deny one’s hungry
- Preoccupied with cooking, calories, nutrition, weight and/or food
- Weigh frequently
- Menstrual irregularities
- Feel ashamed/guilty for eating
- Eat alone due to embarrassment or shame
- Eat until uncomfortably full
- Feel cold even though body temperature is normal or sightly cool
- Lose hair or experience thinning of hair
- Can’t voluntarily stop eating
If you recognize some of these signs or symptoms in your daily routine or in someone you care, help can be found at:
- Renfrew Center Foundation: First residential ED facility; has provided help to more than 60,000 clients in 11 locations
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD): Provides education and support to all those impacted by ED
- Change the Message: A local campaign that focuses on changing the way women and girls think about themselves and how they talk about their bodies.
- National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA): Provides support to those battling with ED, along with loved ones;
- Alliance for Eating Disorder Association: A nonprofit organization that promotes positive body image and the prevention of ED; offers mentoring and education services
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Medline Plus (UDHHS): Provides ED medical info, including causes, s&s and treatment options
- Women’sHealth: Provides information on ED, body image, excessive eating and/or overexercising
- Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment (FEAST): An international organization that provides support for families of ED patients
Although, EDNOS usually develops in adolescence or young adulthood, it can occur at any age and with men or women. If left untreated, EDNOS can lead to electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, cardiac complications or worst case scenario: death. Yet with these resources, treatment and recovery are possible!