February holds National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAAwareness). NEDA’s aim is to bring awareness about all eating disorders and their seriousness.
Eating disorders are characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour. People with eating disorders might excessively focus on their weight, the shape of their body and that may lead to unhealthy choices about food, exercising and more.
Today, we are here to talk about Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (often referred just as EDNOS). Anorexia and Bulimia, we dare to say, are two most known about, discussed, researched and treated eating disorders. They have been a subject of awareness long before EDNOS was even taken as a serious mental health problem. In the recent past, people who haven’t met the criteria for anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating weren’t even treated, despite having just as serious problem.
Wikipedia defines EDNOS as “an eating disorder that does not meet the criteria for: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating” and that people with EDNOS “usually fall into one of the groups: sub-threshold symptoms of anorexia or bulimia, mixed features of both disorders, or extremely atypical eating behaviours that are not characterized by either of the other established disorders.”
Individuals who suffer from EDNOS have usually similar symptoms to people suffering from bulimia and anorexia. EDNOS is the most common eating disorder; about 60% of adults diagnosed with an ED are diagnosed with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) listed five example presentations of EDNOS, including individuals who:
- Meet all criteria for anorexia nervosa except their weight falls within the normal range.
- Meet all criteria for bulimia nervosa except they engage in binge eating or purging behaviours less than twice per week or for fewer than three months.
- Purge after eating small amounts of food while retaining a normal body weight.
- Repeatedly chew and spit out large amounts of food without swallowing.
- Meet criteria for binge eating disorder.
Nowadays, a lot more people are aware of the existence of EDNOS. However, a lot is not enough. Plenty of individuals still don’t have a clue about EDNOS. Lots of people think that anorexia and bulimia are the only eating disorders people can be dealing with. If you think you might have EDNOS or any other ED, tell your closest friends, your family. If you’re not comfortable with talking about it with them, find a therapist. There is hope for every person who’s been so unfortunate to step into the darkness of eating disorders. We wish you all good luck.