Food And Anxiety: Why Cant I Eat?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Human brain is the most complexed part of our body, every person and every brain functions in a different way from another. How it feels, how it perceives and how it reacts, no one can exactly say. Every organ in our body is dependant on our brain and once it stops responding, our body stops responding too. Similarly, food and our brain has a very close contact and exactly like that, food is very closely linked to the anxiety we experience.

Anxiety is not only about situations which can lead towards upset appetite but, anxiety is also directly related to our food intake. Consequently, it can lead to serious eating disorders and other mental health conditions.

What Are The Reasons Of Food Anxiety?

Food has a very vital and crucial role in our lives. Eating a healthy and balanced diet to manage our day-to-day life, and eating is incredibly important. However, if a person’s thoughts about eating are getting intrusive, this can lead to severe food anxiety.

The thoughts which can cause food anxiety includes,

  • Reading messages that are negative about eating and one’s experience.
  • Negative talk about someone being fat, even if they do not actually believe themselves to be that way.
  • People who carry genetics that have the tendency to upset their weight.
  • The people who have certain personality traits such as: perfectionism, can increase the risk of the food anxiety
  • The cultures that promote thinness and slim figures treat that as a moral choice and those who do not fit in that category are bullied and forced to hate themselves
  • A person who experienced abuse or bullying might grow hatred for food and on the other hand can also use it as an escape

Disorders That Are Linked To Food Anxiety

Anorexia Nervosa

There are people who perceive themselves as overweight, even though being very thin. This is a mental condition known as anorexia. This mindset causes them intense anxiety about food hence they end up consuming very few calories to survive.

Bulimia Nervosa

In this specific condition, people tend to eat a lot and also purge. Later on, they try to get rid of the food by vomiting, laxatives, or by enemas. Consequently, it creates a permanent personality trait and the people who eat much can compensate their binge eating by fasting or overexercising.

Binge Eating Disorder

This condition is similar to bulimia and causes a person to eat very large quantities of food. Unlike in bulimia, a person with binge eating disorder does not purge.

Anxiety disorders

A condition known as generalised anxiety disorder can cause a person to feel a lot more anxious than normal in many situations where the anxiety is not even rational. In results, a person with this disorder can channel that anxiety toward food.

Is There A Possible Treatment?

As the symptoms, traits and forms of food anxiety are very different, the treatment for them all is more or less the same.
For the people suffering from this disorder, the following options are considered as treatments.

  • Therapy
    People suffering from disorders can consult therapists as they can help them find safer coping mechanisms, manage their emotions better, and establish strategies to fight their thoughts about food.
  • Medication
    Medicines can help a person to manage their emotions and anxiety
  • Nutritional Counselling
    Severely underweight people will have to undergo intravenous (IV) fluids or treatments to prevent serious health issues
  • Support groups
    Support groups have a purpose and that is to make people understand their feelings about food and get practical advice from people facing similar challenges.
  • Lifestyle changes
    People with these disorders are recommended to change their lifestyles that might ease food anxiety.

These issues and disorders can prove to be very serious if not attended properly. If you plan to seek medical advice or are deciding who to talk to, you can take help from Marham.

Marham telemedicine helps you to book online consultations with your doctor and for that, you’ll have to install Marham mobile app using the link provided below.

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Javeria Adil Chughtai

Javeria Adil Chughtai

A journalist and a medical researcher by profession, badminton player and photographer by passion. You can call me an artist but No, I can't draw you! 😀

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