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Other specified feeding and eating disorders

A very high proportion of people who experience an eating disorder do not fit the typical diagnostic criteria for Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa but are just as serious and require immediate assessment and treatment. Ellern Mede treats most forms of eating disorders, including those with co-morbidities where the eating disorder is the primary diagnosis. We recommend you seek treatment immediately if you think you may have an eating disorder of any type.

Psychiatrists recognise there is a wide range of eating-related symptoms and co-morbidities which cause distress and severely impact on the person’s every day functioning in a way no less serious than Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder. Across the world you will find  terms used to describe these including Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders, (OSFED), Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), and Selective Eating Disorder (SED). This simply underlines the importance that specialist eating disorder clinicians treat people in an individual way rather than treating eating disorders as one type of illness.

When complex physical and mental symptoms and behaviours coexist with eating difficulties, this can result in very serious and life-threatening illness which requires intensive specialist care. In 1991, Ellern Mede co-founder, one of the world’s best known eating disorders specialists, Professor Bryan Lask, described a rare treatment-resistant disorder where a person will or can not eat, drink, possibly also talk or walk or any type of self-care, seeming to abandon all life functions they can control. Lask initially called this Pervasive Refusal Syndrome (PRS), later changed to Pervasive Arousal Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) and until 2011, this was included in the standard psychiatric classification system, the DSM. Ellern Mede’s high dependency unit, named Lask Unit in honour of Professor Lask, continues to treat people aged 8 to 18 with this type of presentation. Many of our patients have completely recovered and go on to live healthy adult lives.


Without that diagnosis (of PRS) and without that help, he would have gone off the edge, without any question he would have gone off that edge.

Parent participant in University of East London research by Emma Jane Smith. Click here for paper.

NHS referrals

Ellern Mede has provided specialist Tier 4 eating disorder services to the NHS since 2000. We respond to referrals within 24 hours.

Private referrals

Call now for immediate access to Ellern Mede specialist private eating disorder services. Accepted referrals begin treatment within two weeks or faster in emergencies.