Is there a link between loss of appetite and anxiety?

Updated on February 4, 2020

In today’s world, anxiety is a common problem people are facing due to many reasons that are physical as well as mental. Not much is known about the side-effects of anxiety and one of the major issues is imbalance in appetite. It has been noticed via various studies that people either lose or gain their appetite when anxiety strikes in. Many people with anxiety either tend to overeat – binge eat or eat unhealthy food, and some people eat less than normal. This happens simply because of one reason – stress. In the United States of America, every year, it has been seen that almost 40 million adults are affected by anxiety. Anxiety can also increase if you play casino through some unreliable websites as there is a chance of losing money. But websites like are reliable and gives you less anxiety while playing online casino.

Anxiety is a common mental health problem faced by many adults who are mostly stressed due to many reasons. One visible symptom of anxiety or mental health illness is change of appetite. This write-up is about the link between anxiety and loss of appetite, further causes, remedies and potential treatments for this problem. What happens is, when an individual starts to feel anxious or stress, the human body starts releasing hormones that are known as stress hormones. The work of these hormones is to initiate the nervous system and simultaneously activate the fight response of the body. 

These fight responses in a self-generated reaction which keeps an individual safe from all probable threats. In addition to this, it is also responsible to prepare the human body to keep it aware and fight these threats. The sudden increase of these stress hormones has many other effects on the physical health as well. As per research, it has been seen that CRF or corticotropin-releasing hormones affect the digestive system and leads to the change in appetite. This change can either be a loss of appetite or an increase in the same. 

Having said that, cortisol, is another stress releasing hormone which boosts the secretion of gastric acid. This is to instantly speed up the digestion process and the body can fight the external agents effectively. The fight response of these hormones also includes many other digestive processes and they are –

  •        Indigestion
  •        Diarrhoea
  •        Constipation
  •        Nausea

The same fight response also alleviates other physical symptoms and these are – 

  •           Increased blood pressure
  •           Increased heart rate
  •           Increased rate of breathing
  •           Flushing of skin
  •           Shakiness of the limbs and body
  •           Extreme muscle tension

Some of the physical symptoms that have been mentioned above are uncomfortable to an extent where an individual losses the desire to consume anything. A person may feel constipated and the very thought of eating something can make him or her irritated. As has been mentioned before, the change in appetite might be a loss or increase in the eating pattern. An individual may start over eating or can lose all desire to eat which depends on the hormones. This pattern is not the same in two individuals and differs in terms of the quantity of change. 

Anyone who has recurrent anxiety issues will have extreme levels of CRF hormones in their system which is long-term. Because of this, the person will experience a lengthened time period of loss of appetite. On the contrary, an individual who experiences an anxiety attack that is less frequent is likely to find comfort by eating or at times, overeating. Nevertheless, reactions to stress and anxiety and their symptoms are different in different people. This is due to many factors such as –

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Lifestyle
  • Other medical conditions

Anxiety can either be short-term or chronic and the reaction of individuals is different to both of them. It is important to know of the remedies and treatment of change in appetite and what steps should be taken to address the problems. Some helpful points have been shared below and it is recommended that anyone who experiences a change in their appetite can follow these.

       Understand the cause

The first and foremost step begins with an understanding of the cause of anxiety or stress. Once this is done, to work behind the problem becomes easier. Half the war is fought when he or she takes the time to understand the reason behind the anxiety attacks. 

        Address the issue

As soon as one understands the root cause of the illness, taking care of it and fighting the illness starts. Once the cause is identified, an individual becomes aware of the problem and can control himself or herself from overeating or not eating at all. 

        Take professional help

         It is not possible for everyone to find and fight their anxiety issues all by themselves, hence professional help is advised. To understand and take control of your illness to fight it, get In touch with a professional therapist, 

        Practise stress management

There are many techniques that are scientifically proven to reduce and control stress and anxiety symptoms. Practising these will also bring the appetite in control and they are :

  •         Breathing exercises
  •          Meditation
  •          Imagery practice
  •         Muscle relaxation
  •          Being mindful

        Dietary habits

He or she, whoever has anxiety and stress problems, should include nutritious food which consists of green vegetables and fruits. One can also include meal replacement shakes that are rich in nutrients and happy foods like bananas, apricots, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Anyone who has severe anxiety should avoid foods that are tough to digest and have high levels of salt or sugar.

      Changing the lifestyle

Lifestyle is the most important factor that affects stress levels in the human body. When a person has anxiety attacks or has stress, there are a lot of things that affect the normal lifestyle of the individual. Common problems are difficulty in sleeping or including physical activities in the daily routine. When the sleeping pattern and physical activities are regular, anxiety levels go down to a certain extent and there is an increase in appetite. 

Changing one’s lifestyle during these times can be very difficult, but with the help of a routine and a professional therapist it is possible. Follow the aforementioned steps to gain control of the situation so that one is not affected in an irreversible manner. 

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