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Blog – Page 2 – North Dakota Post Adopt Network
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Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder, Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder, and Orthorexia

By | Parenting

Throughout this blog post, I will discuss the diagnostic criteria, symptoms and warning signs, and ways to help someone struggling with Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED). Also discussed is Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder and Orthorexia.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder

When a person receives a diagnosis of Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) it typically means that they have many of the same symptoms as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and/or binge eating disorder still, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for those eating disorders. OSFED can affect individuals of all ages and genders. Previously, OSFED used to be known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) (National Eating Disorder Association, 2018).

Diagnostic Criteria: Because OSFED has a unique diagnostic criteria with having the same symptoms of other eating disorders, but not meeting the full diagnostic criteria, OSFED might present as the following:

  • Atypical anorexia nervosa: when the criteria are met for anorexia nervosa, but the individual’s weight is within or above the normal range. Those with atypical anorexia nervosa have the same physical and psychological complications as anorexia nervosa.
  • Bulimia nervosa of low frequency and/or limited duration: when the criteria are met for bulimia nervosa, but the binge eating and compensatory behaviors occur less than once a week and/or less than three months.
  • Binge eating disorder of low frequency and/or limited duration: when the criteria are met for binge eating, but binge eating occurs less than once a week and/or for less than three months.
  • Purging disorder: when an individual engages in self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives/medications to achieve a certain weight or shape.
  • Night eating syndrome: when an individual engages in eating after waking up or by eating large amounts of food following the evening meal. An individual who struggles with night eating syndrome is aware of the eating.

Symptoms and Warning Signs: Below are a few emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms and warning signs. For a complete list, please visit: https://nedc.com.au/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-explained/types/other-specified-feeding-or-eating-disorders/

  • Emotional and Behavioral: Negative body image, secretive behavior around eating, food preference changes, frequent trips to the bathroom during or after meals, and anxiety around mealtimes
  • Physical: Inability to maintain normal body weight, sensitivity to the cold, fatigue, poor immune system, and signs of vomiting.

How to help: The most important way to help someone struggling with OSFED is to reach out for help. OSFED can be ias dangerous and serious as other eating disorders, so receiving help as soon as possible can aid in the recovery process.

Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder

Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder is similar to OSFED, which is discussed above. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (2018), unspecified feeding or eating disorder is typically used in situations when a clinician chooses not to specify the reasoning that the diagnostic criteria is not met for a specific feeding and eating disorder and this can also include having insufficient information to make a more specific diagnosis.

According to Ekern, in “Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED): Signs and Symptoms,” an individual with UFED can have certain thoughts and behaviors about food and body image, but it is not enough to diagnosis a specific eating disorder as typically, those thoughts and behaviors are not severe enough to cause significant distress.

It is important to note that if an individual receives a diagnosis of UFED, that diagnosis can change as more information is obtained or as symptoms change.


According to the National Eating Disorder Association (2018), orthorexia can fall into the category of the OSFED. It is not recognized in the DSM-5, but there is more and more research and awareness coming to light regarding orthorexia. Someone who may struggle with orthorexia is typically obsessed with healthy and proper eating, defining good and bad foods. It has been shown that many individuals with orthorexia also have OCD. There is no specific treatment plan for orthorexia, but professionals may treat it as anorexia or OCD. Eating healthy and following a diet does not mean someone has orthorexia. Orthorexia may appear when someone becomes fixated and obsessive over eating healthy.

Diagnostic Criteria: Due to orthorexia not being in the DSM-5, there is no formal diagnostic criteria for orthorexia.

Symptoms: Obsessively checking ingredient lists and nutrition labels, cutting out food groups at the same time, thinking about what foods might be served at different events an individual is attending, and distress when healthy foods are not available.

How to help: Connecting someone who has orthorexia to a registered dietitian or nutritionist can be helpful. Due to being fixated on eating healthy and defining what is good and bad, meeting with a dietitian can help explain what foods and why certain foods are beneficial for overall health, even if they think they are unhealthy.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Jaclyn Stroehl, LBSW


Ekern, Baxter. “Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED): Signs and Symptoms.” Eating Disorder Hope, 8 Mar. 2016, www.eatingdisorderhope.com/blog/unspecified-feeding-or-eating-disorder-ufed-signs-and-symptoms.

National Eating Disorders Association. (2018, February 22). Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/unspecified-feeding-or-eating-disorder

National Eating Disorders Association. (2018b, July 30). Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/osfed

National Eating Disorders Association. “Orthorexia.” National Eating Disorders Association, 13 Dec. 2019, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/other/orthorexia.



A Survival Kit for The Winter Blues!

By | Parenting

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), more commonly known as “The Winter Blues,” affects millions of American adults and children every year.  A primary symptom of SAD is a change in mood resulting in feelings of sadness, depression, increased irritability, and possible feelings of hopelessness.  SAD also impacts an individual’s ability to think positively.  They may lack enjoyment, seek social isolation, have low energy, increase their want and/or need for sleep, and increase their cravings for comfort foods instead of healthier food choices.  SAD differentiates from clinical depression due to the fact that the depressed mood and symptoms typically will last 4-5 months.  Adults and children in northern climates are at a higher risk of developing SAD symptoms as the fall and winter seasons shorten the hours of sunlight significantly each day.  Whether parents notice symptoms of SAD in themselves, or their child(ren), the symptoms must be taken seriously.  Therefore, families need to be prepared to face SAD symptoms, or the Winter Blues, together!

The good news?  There are many things parents can do to help themselves, their children, and their family overall thrive throughout the bitterly cold winter days!

  • Take advantage of the “nice” weather days! When the sun is shining, bundle up the whole family and release some physical energy outside by going sledding, ice skating, building a snowman, ice fishing, snowshoeing, or participate in a family snowball fight!  Be sure to capitalize on all of the “fun” traditional winter activities whenever possible!
  • Be creative when stuck inside! Minimize time on the TV, phones, computers, gaming systems, etc.  Here are a few ideas to engage in indoor activities together as a family:
    • Paint the snow! If you can’t go outside, bring some snow inside.  Fill a large bowl or multiple small bowls with snow, and then use watercolor paints to create fun designs.  This activity will stimulate excitement, laughter, and communication for all involved.
    • Create your snowman! Grab some construction paper, mini marshmallows, glue, cotton balls, and markers.  Engage in this creative activity together and then follow-up with a conversation of why each person chose to make their snowman the way they did.  You can also hang the finished products on the wall to show pride in your family’s work and remind each member of your family of a fun memory!
    • Pick your favorite summer activity and recreate it at home! Go “camping” in your living room or set up a beach-style party!  Whether you eat s’mores in a tent and tuck into your sleeping bags that night or decide to put on swimming attire and create a beach vibe, there will be excitement and fun had by all!
    • Find more creative ideas for indoor winter activities online. Pinterest has a plethora of ideas!  The three ideas noted above were retrieved from the following article: 15+ Indoor Winter Activities for Kids to Beat the Winter Blues (momooze.com).  If you like the three ideas I mentioned, be sure to check out the rest!
  • Create a well-balanced meal plan with your family each week to avoid the comfort food cravings!
    • It is challenging as a parent to juggle all appointments, activities and keep up with daily chores when all family members are healthy and not struggling with symptoms of SAD. Therefore, by having each family member sit down weekly to create a menu focused on ensuring nutritional values are met through most meals will help parents stay focused.  Depletine of the essential nutritional food groups occurs often during the 4-5 month window of The Winter Blues.  You have the power to offset that depletion and engage in more family time!
    • Take the time to shop for your meal plan/weekly menu as a family. Although taking your kids to the store can create stress, it will get you all out of the house for a while.
    • Make cooking supper a family event each night or as often as possible. Engage your children in the process of preparing and cooking as age-appropriate.
  • It is essential to know when to seek professional help! Monitor the well-being of yourself and your family members as The Winter Blues can become very serious!
    • Severe cases of SAD can be treated through four main categories: Light Therapy, Psychotherapy/Talk Therapy, Medication Management, and Vitamin D Therapy.
    • Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or an established mental health provider as soon as you recognize the symptoms of SAD are worsening.
    • Know that if you, your child, or someone you know is in immediate distress or thinking about harming themselves, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you reside in North Dakota, you can also reach out to FirstLink National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 211 (dial 2-1-1).

This blog was written by Post Adopt Coordinator Katie Davis, LBSW


Hull, M. (2021). Seasonal Affective Disorder Statistics. The Recovery Village.  Retrieved from Seasonal Affective Disorder Statistics – The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Seasonal Affective Disorder. (NIH Publication No. 20-MH-8183).  Retrieved from NIMH » Seasonal Affective Disorder (nih.gov).

Lyness, D. (2020). Seasonal Affective Disorder.  KidsHealth.  Retrieved from Seasonal Affective Disorder (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth.


Holiday Blues

By | Parenting

There is so much happening these days, between switching seasons – summer to fall to winter,  holidays to be celebrated, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, to Christmas – and a change of years.  These holidays, season changes, and new years are typically to be filled with joy, excitement, celebrations, connectedness to family and friends.  However, adoptive families may experience the holidays with a different shade than what was hoped or expected.

The intent of these hopes and expectations comes from a place of generally good but may leave you feeling frustrated or let down.  Parents, if you’re finding yourself in a hazy lens of mixed emotions, you’re not alone.  Many parents have found themselves in some array of disappointment as plans didn’t go as expected.  In planning for the remaining holidays of this year or planning for the holidays of years to come, there may be a few options to consider:

  1. Plan a getaway if need be. Large group celebrations characteristically take place over the holidays, filled with feasts, conversations, games, etc.  These details may create a cause of anxiety or feelings of fear for your youth.  Talk with your youth ahead of time about what to expect, and provide opportunities that can be done to help ensure there is an escape route to take place or a quiet place to unwind if need be.
  2. Plan events that are in the best interest of your youth. If the large group celebrations cause a great deal of dysregulation, plan to do something that better suits your youth and immediate family.  Perhaps dinner and movies/games at home will lessen the amount of dysregulation.
  3. See and acknowledge the loss your youth may be experiencing. Youth in the realm of adoption may have a multitude of losses.  These losses may include birth families, former foster families and traditions.  These loses may take a toll on a youth, leading a youth to feel isolated during the holiday season.  It’s important to have conversations with youth to acknowledge the losses.  Implementing some of the aspects of the youth into traditions in the adoptive home can allow for more connectedness for them.
  4. Allow your youth to grieve the important people they miss through the holiday season, as well as traditions that might not be able to be held. The change of plans or expectations you had hoped for may cause a sense of sadness or feelings of being let down.  Allow yourself to acknowledge and grieve the loss of your unmet expectations, too.

The key is to implement and tweak what works best for your youth, your family, and you.  It’s ok to do holidays, gatherings, and this season differently.  Step into having conversations with your youth and validate their emotions and losses.  Not only are your youth important, but so are you!  Allow yourself to be honest with how you’re feeling – be gracious with yourself as you reflect on where you may be at, as well.  Look at your family’s needs, and dare to step out of your norm to meet those needs.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Darcy Solem, LBSW

Strengthening Relationships Through Communication

By | Parenting

Can you hear me?  Are you even listening?  These are questions we may ask ourselves while communicating with our children, significant others, friends, and even the cashier at the grocery store. Communication refers to the process in which one person conveys information to another person.  Information can be shared through verbal dialogue or non-verbal communication. While we know our words are important, non-verbal communication is responsible for up to 93% of conversation messages. This statistic indicates self-awareness of your own communication style and skills are vital in establishing and, ultimately, strengthening your relationships.

Communication self-awareness is essential in all relationships; however, establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with children through communication can be particularly challenging. Relationships between parents and their children can benefit greatly by emphasizing effective communication daily. Here are some tips on how to implement effective communication for you and your child(ren):

  • Be genuine and speak from your heart. Communication is a two way street!  It is important that parents show vulnerability regarding their own feelings and needs.  This gives children the opportunity to learn from their parents and create an open and honest dialogue in their relationship.
  • Pay attention to non-verbal messages.
    • Be aware of your tone of voice. How something is said is often more important than what is said.
    • Make and maintain eye contact as much as possible while respecting the child’s comfort level. Our eyes really can be the window to our souls.  By focusing on your child’s eyes, you will be more likely to interpret their feelings or emotions accurately and effectively show you are paying attention to your child and their needs.
    • Start conversations at eye-level with your child. For instance, if they are sitting on the floor, sit down with them.  Your posture and gestures can send strong messages to children.  For instance, if a parent is standing above a child when speaking their statements may seem threatening or uninviting to the child.
    • Listen with a closed mouth. This will limit interruptions when your child is talking.  You can offer non-verbal encouragement through smiling and other facial expressions to show you are actively engaged in communication.
  • Let your child know they have been heard.
    • Summarize what you hear back to your child in order to ensure you heard what they intended to say.
    • Feel free to ask questions about their story or statements. These questions offer children an opportunity to see you are engaged and care about what they are saying.
  • Keep conversations brief.
    • Have shorter conversations more often with your child.
    • If addressing an issue, have an initial conversation and schedule a time for you and your child to come back to the issue after calming down and preparing for the follow-up conversation.
  • Use communication builders/boosters like the ones below to open lines of communication:
    • “I’d like to hear more about that!”
    • “What did you think about…?”
    • “That’s really interesting. Will you say more?”
    • “I’m confused. Will you explain that to me?”

Effective and open communication takes time to establish, especially with children!  However, by increasing your self-awareness and focusing on your verbal and non-verbal communication daily, you will create a habit of being active in your conversations.  The result will be a closer and positive relationship between you and your child.

This blog was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Katie Davis, LBSW.


Elsevier B.V. (2021) Nonverbal Communication. Science Direct.  Retrieved from https://sciencedirect.com/topics/social-services/nonverbal-communication

Sheafor, B.W., & Horejsi, C.R. (2008) Techniques and Guidelines for Social Work Practice (Eighth Edition), Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Zolten, K. & Long, N. (2006) Parent/Child Communication.  Center for Effective Parenting.  Retrieved from https://parenting-ed.org/wp-content/themes/parenting-ed/files/handouts/communication-parent-to-child.pdf