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Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)
Eating disorders not otherwise specified, or EDNOS, is the term medical professionals use when an eating disorder is apparent but does not fit within the definitions of other eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, etc...Keep reading for more information on EDNOS.
Though some eating disorders fall into clear-cut categories, like anorexia or bulimia, others are harder to define, or are only now coming to the attention of the medical profession. These lesser known or lesser understood eating disorders are called eating disorders not otherwise specified, or EDNOS.
EDNOS are sometimes variations of anorexia or bulimia. Binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating disorder are considered eating disorders not otherwise specified.
In another example of an EDNOS, the person may obsess about the kind of food they eat or only eat one type of food. This is not the same as being a vegetarian or a vegan, which can be a healthy lifestyle choice as long as the person is getting a good variety of healthy foods and eating enough of them. A person’s eating choices may be considered an EDNOS when they are obsessive about what they eat or are depriving themselves of good nutrition. This may include being addicted to fad diets.
Using drugs or medications to manipulate one’s weight or appearance may also be considered an EDNOS. A teen with this type of eating disorder may combine steroids with unhealthy eating to bulk up, or abuse medications to burn more calories.
EDNOS risk factors
While some types of eating disorders are much more common among female teens, EDNOS affect males and females about equally. Male teens who have an eating disorder are more likely to have an unspecified one. This may be because, while many girls with eating disorders are trying to be thinner, teen boys with eating disorders may be trying to lose weight and gain muscle, so they may use a variety of unhealthy eating habits in combination.
Eating disorders not otherwise specified usually begin in the teen years, when young people often become very body conscious, though younger children and adults can also develop EDNOS.
EDNOS often appear with other problems in teens, such as:
Teens who are at higher risk for an EDNOS include those who:
Symptoms of an EDNOS
Unspecified eating disorders may be harder to recognize than other eating disorders because the teen’s weight may not change as dramatically. There are some signs that indicate a teen may have an EDNOS:
These symptoms could indicate a problem with a teen, so if parents notice them they should talk to the teen about their concerns.
How to help teens avoid or overcome EDNOS
Parents and other caring people can play an important role in preventing eating disorders or helping teens overcome an EDNOS. Some of the ways they can help include:
If a teen does have an EDNOS, he or she will need medical treatment and supervision to overcome the disorder. In addition to medical care, therapy, nutrition counseling, and sometimes medications can help teens overcome their eating disorder.
National Institute of Mental Health, "Eating Disorders" [online]
Dr. Michael Levine, National Eating Disorders Association, "10 Things Parents Can Do to Help Prevent Eating Disorders" [online]
Related Article: Warning Signs of Eating Disorders >>