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What is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)?

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A person with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) may present with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa but will not meet the full criteria for diagnosis of these disorders. This does not mean that the person has a less serious eating disorder. EDNOS is a serious mental illness that occurs in adults, adolescents and children. 40% – 60% of people who seek treatment for an eating disorder have EDNOS.

People with EDNOS commonly present with extremely disturbed eating habits, a distorted body image and an intense fear of gaining weight. EDNOS is the most common eating disorder diagnosed for adults as well as adolescents, and affects both males and females equally.

For more detailed information on EDNOS visit our Knowledge Hub.

What are the risks associated with EDNOS?

The risks associated with EDNOS are severe. People with EDNOS will experience risks similar to those of the eating disorder their behaviours most closely resemble:

  • Inflammation and rupture of the oesophagus and stomach from frequent vomiting
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea
  • Kidney failure
  • Osteoporosis – a condition that can lead to human bones becoming fragile and easy to fracture.
  • Irregular or slow heart beat which can lead to an increased risk of heart failure
  • Loss of or disturbance of menstrual periods in girls and women
  • Increased risk of infertility in men and women

What are the warning signs of EDNOS?

Having awareness about eating disorders and the warning signs and symptoms can make a marked difference to the severity and duration of the illness. Seeking help at the first warning sign is much more effective than waiting until the illness is in full swing. Many of the signs that indicate a person may have EDNOS are very similar to those of the other eating disorders.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting some or a combination of these signs it is vital to seek help and support as soon as possible.

The warning signs of EDNOS can be physical, psychological and behavioural. It is possible for someone with EDNOS to display a combination of these symptoms.

Find out more about the warning signs

Is it possible to recover?

Yes. It is possible to recover from EDNOS, even if you have been living with the illness for many years. The path to recovery can be very challenging. However, with the right team and a high level of personal commitment, recovery is an achievable goal. Treatments for EDNOS are available; seek help from a professional with specialised knowledge in eating disorders.

Getting help

If you suspect that you or someone you know has EDNOS, it is important to seek help immediately. The earlier you seek help the closer you are to recovery. While your GP may not be formally trained in detecting the presence of an eating disorder, he/she is a good ‘first base.’ A GP can refer you on to a practitioner with specialised knowledge in eating disorders.

Find help in your local area.

The DSM-5 classification and diagnostic manual recently replaced EDNOS with Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED)


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