What are Unspecified Feeding and Eating Disorders?

Unspecified feeding or eating disorders cause clinically significant distress or impairment and do not match the criteria for any of the specified eating disorders. 


Pica is characterized by the persistent consumption of non-food items over a period of at least a month. As a normal part of learning and development, children between 18 months and two years of age may eat non-nutritive, non-food substances. If this behaviour occurs later in life, it should be addressed as quickly as possible. Non-food substances may include paper, soap, cloth, hair, string, wool, soil, chalk, talcum powder, paint, gum, metal, pebbles, charcoal or coal, ash, clay, starch, or ice. 

Rumination Disorder: 

Rumination refers to consistent regurgitation of chewed and/or partially digested food over a period of at least a month. Previously swallowed food is brought up into the mouth effortlessly, with no sign of gagging or nausea. Similar behaviours can be observed in infants; however, they should outgrow it quickly. When children do not outgrow it, parents should ask for help. Rumination can also be a symptom of anorexia or bulimia. 

Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder:

This category is used to describe symptoms of a feeding or eating disorder which causes distress and impairment in functioning but does not meet the criteria for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, OSFED, or ARFID.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness characterised by behaviours that interfere with maintaining an adequate weight. 

Biological, social, genetic, and psychological factors play a role in increasing the risk of its onset.

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Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a mental illness characterised by periods of food restriction followed by binge eating, with recurrent compensating behaviours to “purge” the body of the food.

Biological, social, genetic, and psychological factors play a role in increasing the risk of its onset.

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Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) involves limitations in the amount and/or types of food consumed, but unlike anorexia, ARFID does not involve any distress about body shape or size, or fears of fatness. 

ARFID is a mental illness which can severely compromise growth, development, and health. 

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Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a mental illness that can seriously affect psychological and physical health. It is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food then experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards.

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Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder

Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders refers to atypical presentations of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, among other eating disorders. 

These eating disorders are equally serious and as potentially life-threatening as the more typical presentations. 

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Other Eating Disorders

Including pica, rumination disorder and unspecified feeding or eating disorder

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