About eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)

It is common for people to be diagnosed as having an eating disorder not otherwise specified. This means you have some of the features of the three types of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder but you do not have all the characteristics used to diagnose that disorder.

For example, a person may be severely restricting their calorie intake, but still have a regular menstrual cycle and a BMI that is not below 17.5. Therefore, they would not fulfil the criteria for anorexia and so would be diagnosed with eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).

The very important message to bear in mind is that a diagnosis of EDNOS does not mean your eating disorder is less serious or dangerous. In children and young people, we consider emotional well-being, attitude to food and speed of weight loss: if someone started with a relatively high BMI, they could develop very harmful, rigid eating disordered behaviour but still be above a BMI of 17.5.

We can find in boys and male teenagers, if an eating disorder is combined with compulsive exercise, they can be severely restricting food intake and over-exercising, but with muscle mass, be above the threshold of 17.5 BMI.

Our eating disorders help section provides a wide range of further information and advice for anyone concerned about eating disorders.