Mixed Signals: Hungry But No Appetite
By Sarah Fader
Updated December 05, 2018
Your Body is a Machine:
We all have times when we feel hungrier than we actually are, or may not feel hungry when we physically need to eat. Lack of appetite can range in intensity and duration, and may only last for a few moments to longer stretches of time. Having a desire to eat is different from having a physiological need for energy. Different things can impact your feelings of hunger or satiety.
Anxiety is a state that is caused by the release of chemicals associated with the stress response. When we are exposed to stress or any threat, our body reacts by releasing a form of chemical soup, suppressing the digestive system, halting the digestion of food and the elimination. When exposed to regular stress, you may experience a lack of appetite or other digestive issues. One of the bigger problems is when you feel hungry but have no appetite, as you need energy to survive and thrive.
Hungry But No Appetite:
While it's important to follow your body's cues, it sometimes can be important to get nutrients even if you have to just get them down. Anxiety is characterized as general apprehension, worrying, or nervousness, but can have many different manifestations. Some of the most recognized symptoms are mood or emotionally linked, but anxiety can also manifest itself as physical symptoms. These can include sweating, gastric distress, rapid heart rate, sleep abnormalities, or loss of appetite. Multiple disorders fall under the umbrella of anxiety, including OCD, PTSD, social phobias, panic disorders, and many others.
Making a Timeline:
If these behaviors are short-lived, they are not something to worry too much about. However, if they continue to bother you, malnutrition or dehydration can become a real worry. Noting the situations and the time of day when you tend to experience this abnormal pattern could serve to give important clues to the underlying cause. Mental health care can be a multifarious concept, as things that you may not think are associated with your mental health may need maintenance. BetterHelp is a resource meant to help people work through their maladaptive constructs, while introducing healthier habits. Sometimes during particularly stressful periods of your life, you might experience yourself feeling less hungry than usual, or the opposite, and find yourself binge eating. There are several things that could be to blame, such as a hormonal or neurotransmitter imbalance, increased stomach acid from the stress response, or from underlying depression or anxiety disorder.