Food is a physiologic requirement of the human body that needs to be met. However, when it comes to dealing with eating disorders, there is always the chance that the body will become malnourished. Among the most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, binge eating, and bulimia.

However, there are occasions wherein the eating disorder doesn’t fall under the category of those that we have mentioned. This is where it is typically categorized as EDNOS. EDNOS means eating disorder not otherwise specified.

In fact, a lot of people are suffering from EDNOS. Around 60% of adults that are getting treatment for an eating disorder have been categorized with EDNOS. And also, the prevalence of the problem is quite rampant for both sexes.

If this is quite confusing, it is important to take a closer look at what makes a person become diagnosed with EDNOS.

woman hiding with eating disorder

For instance, if you have signs of suffering from anorexia nervosa, but your weight is still within normal range, then you could be diagnosed with EDNOS. The same goes for people with binge eating and purging behavior only less than twice per week or fewer than three months.

You can admit that EDNOS is typically a classification for people who are simply starting to have signs and symptoms of binge and purge behavior. You can also be classified having EDNOS if you are purging small amounts of food while still having a normal body weight.

EDNOS patients typically showcase the same type of pathophysiology as those patients with binge eating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia, but the severity is still not as severe.

Understanding EDNOS

Eating disorders can be quite complicated depending on the patient suffering from it. EDNOS is a broad classification for patients that fall under the grey areas. This only means that you could be suffering from anorexia but you might still be having your period. It is also possible that you are obsessed with your weight and exhibit anorexic practices but is still not underweight.

There are also cases wherein the person suffering from EDNOS is suffering both anorexia nervosa and bulimia. A person suffering from this type of EDNOS is typically referred to as bullimarexic. Regardless of the complicated classification of the condition,

EDNOS, as well as other eating disorder such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and compulsive overeating are all considered psychological conditions. But unlike other psychological disorders, a lot of people with EDNOS remain undiagnosed mainly due to the fact that experts simply just scratched the surface. Medical experts have just focused on eating disorders more recently.

The danger when it comes to EDNOS and other eating disorders is the fact that it can endanger a person’s life.

EDNOS, unlike other eating disorders, can be hard to recognize due to the fact that the symptoms are not yet pronounced. Though the person is already depriving himself of food, the person may still appear normal due to his or her normal weight.

The same goes for someone who suffers from binge eating episodes but is not yet exhibiting the extreme physical conditions expected from a person with an eating disorder. It is also possible that someone is suffering from a combination of different tendencies. Someone could be suffering from anorexia and binge and purge tendencies.

Symptoms of EDNOS

eating disorder symptoms

The symptoms of EDNOS differ from one case to the next. There is a possibility that some of the symptoms may also cross with each other. There is a diagnostic criteria that exist in order to classify the problem easier. This makes it easier for a psychiatrist to find out if the person is suffering from EDNOS or not. It rules out bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and other eating disorders that have specific physical symptoms.

For instance, EDNOS is classified for individuals that are suffering from anorexia nervosa but still have regular menses. The same is also true for people who are suffering from anorexia nervosa but are still within normal weight range.

It is also possible that you get to be classified as having EDNOS when you are having bulimic episodes except that the frequency is less than twice a week or for a duration of less than 3 months. EDNOS classification is also meant for people within normal weight who are having compensatory behavior such as vomiting and excessive exercise after taking small amounts of food. And also, EDNOS can be applicable to people who just chew food but never swallows food in large amount.

The tricky part about EDNOS is that it encompasses a good number of eating disorders. It is important to know these different symptoms in order to know the exact approach that should be made by the medical experts. And since there is no generic solution for EDNOS, that’s when it can become tricky especially when it comes to formulating the right medical care for the patient.

EDNOS Prevention

How does one person avoid EDNOS? The first thing that should be done in order to avoid EDNOS is to understand the risks that the person is going to have. It has been proven that genetic disposition is a factor that should be considered by medical experts when it comes to approaching the possibility of a person being diagnosed with EDNOS.

It is also imperative that families are aware on how they raise their children. There are people exhibiting symptoms of binge eating disorder accompanied with purging tendencies who have low self-esteem. It is important for families and friends to build an environment wherein the person could actually gain confidence on what he or she does.

It is also important that food is not regularly used as a reward, especially for children. This is when they can have the tendency to eat more than they should especially during stressful situations.

There are also some cases wherein it is possible to prevent EDNOS simply by fixing their hormones. Our appetite is controlled by certain hormones in the body. By talking to an endocrinologist, it becomes possible to trace possible hormones that need a boost.

And of course, it is important for people to be educated when it comes to the value of food that they eat. It is also important to discuss how bodies differ and why it is important to stay healthy. At times, discussing the health repercussions of unhealthy eating habits can also be a great way to prevent eating disorders especially to adolescent individuals who are more likely prone to having an eating disorder.

EDNOS Treatment

EDNOS treatment is never a straightforward approach. We have mentioned that EDNOS can be varied forms of eating disorders that have fallen in the grey area of more specific conditions such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa, compulsive eating disorder, and others.

It is quite common that people with EDNOS are categorized with eating disorders but not yet as severe. These individuals may actually still have a normal weight but they are already exhibiting bad eating practices.

The good thing about treating EDNOS is that the condition is not yet as bad as other eating disorders. This means that a woman may still be having her period even if she is already exhibiting all the other symptoms of someone having anorexia nervosa. It is also possible that someone who is bulimic doesn’t have the frequency that could force him or her to lose a significant amount of weight.

Though these are not really worst case scenarios, it is also important to note that EDNOS is a classification that is quite broad. This also means that treatments that should be considered by a medical practitioner can be quite diverse and a bit complicated in some occasions.

There are different options when it comes to the treatment of EDNOS. The first thing that should be done is to visit a doctor who can assess the overall physical condition of the patient. If the classification of EDNOS is due to the fact that the patient is still maintaining a normal weight, then it is important for the medical practitioner to ensure to maintain the status quo. It is also the best practice to anticipate possible health repercussions.

It is also a good idea that the patient consults a dentist. There are instances wherein people develop problems with their teeth first before losing weight. For instance, if someone vomits food deliberately, acidic contents from the stomach could definitely do some damage on the throat and also on the teeth and gums.

Part of the treatment involves helping the patient psychologically. It is important for the psychiatrist to determine the reason why the person has been exhibiting specific symptoms of EDNOS. Is the person exhibiting EDNOS have low self-esteem? Why exactly does he or she react to stress by having an unhealthy eating pattern?

group therapy for people with eating disorders

The goal of psychologic treatments includes improvement of mood and even improvement of coping mechanism of the person that is affected by the condition. It is important for the individual to develop the right problem-solving skills in order to be able to effectively reduce the possibility of developing unhealthy habits as a way to lessen the stress.

Group behavior therapy is also becoming popular. This provides people affected by EDNOS a sense of community. They get to meet other people who are also suffering the same condition as they are. And from here, they can even learn a few things about the condition from the triggers to how you can stop yourself from performing unhealthy eating habits.

And lastly, medications are sometimes combined with psychologic approach especially when the person is dealing with depression.

EDNOS Rehabilitation

Recovering from EDNOS can be quite the challenge. There are a lot of people that still have undiagnosed eating disorders.

It is possible that some people will need months in order to get rid of their unhealthy eating habits completely. In fact, a lot of families will think that some behaviors falling under EDNOS are quite normal. And for these reasons, rehabilitation can be quite challenging. The good thing about EDNOS is that the symptoms are not yet severe compared to anorexia nervosa and other conditions out there.

The most important thing about starting rehab is to make sure that the person’s physical condition is at its optimum level. The good news is that a lot of people suffering from EDNOS still have normal weight. And also, their compulsion to overeat, vomit food, and deprive the body of food is not as worse as patients that fall under overeating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia nervosa.

family support for a woman with eating disorder

It is also important that part of rehab includes the family. The family members should be able to provide the person with the right environment where he or she can cope with stress. It is also important that the family members are watchful of the things that the person exhibits that fall under EDNOS.

There should also be a lecture regarding the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. It is important for the patient to understand that eating the right food and the right amount of food at the right time plays a crucial role in living a healthy life.

It is also important that the person follows up on receiving psychologic evaluation and help. This way, professionals can assess the improvement on the person’s overall mental health. In this manner, it is also possible to solve the root cause of the eating disorder. Is the person using food as a way to cope with stress? Does the person feel guilty after eating?

There are instances wherein a person should continuously get support from other people with the same condition. There are groups of people suffering from the same eating disorder that could help a person understand more about his condition. These groups also make the person have a sense of community and even have his or her much needed support.


There are many eating disorders out there. EDNOS is a classification that encompasses different eating disorders including those that have exhibit symptoms of bulimia, anorexia, and even compulsive eating disorder.

But since the severity of the symptoms may not be too extreme, it becomes easier for the doctors and nutritionists to take the time to solve the problem. However, it is imperative that the patient diagnosed with EDNOS gets to receive psychiatric help. There are instances wherein a patient suffering from EDNOS has unhealthy coping mechanism from stress.

It is important that the patient not only figures out how to decrease stress but also how he or she can cope with it in a healthy manner. And of course, education is important when it comes to nutrition and living a healthy life. This can only be done with the help of a support group from family and friends that are willing to learn more about the condition.

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