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Forums / Anxiety / Why does anxiety cause loss of appetite & how to get it back?

Topic: Why does anxiety cause loss of appetite & how to get it back?

26 posts, 0 answered
  1. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    23 November 2015

    Every time I get bad anxiety I completely lose my appetite.
    Just the smell or thought of food makes me feel sick. But after a while, my body starts to tell me it wants food, even though I can't bring myself to eat it.

    The hunger pangs begin to feel a lot like the anxiety itself, so I find it makes me worse.

    Does this happen to everyone? And if so why and what can you do to get food inside you?!

    5 people found this helpful
  2. Neil_1
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    Neil_1 avatar
    4232 posts
    24 November 2015

    Hi there Chicken Wings


    Cool and interesting name by the way.  If only it was Chicken Soup, I would be suggesting that possibly become cannibal and take on a bowl of that amazing broth !


    Food food food – oh, that and water water water – our bodies need it.  It’s a bit like how a car needs petrol and oil.  If you don’t feed a car, well, it will not go.  It’s a very similar thing with your body.  It needs to be fed in order to operate.


    Also I have a strong philosophy with the human body (or moreover, my own body) in that, this is the only body I have and though my mind is being dominated by the dreaded black dog and creating havoc inside my head, my body doesn’t need to follow that path.  So yeah, I have one body, and I aim to maintain this body as well as I possibly can, by treating it right with lots of exercise, but also lots of good healthy food and good levels of hydration.


    Chicken Wings, I hope the above makes some sense to you and I’d welcome your response on this.  I’d be only too happy to expand or describe more about it all if you’d like.


    Kind regards



  3. Mummybee
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    103 posts
    24 November 2015 in reply to Chicken Wings

    Hi chickenwings,

    its a horrible part of anxiety! I couldn't agree more. I suffer with health anxiety and the not eating thing really sucks.

    each mouthful is like a giant lump of horror! 

    I try small things like strawberries and other berries. They are high in sugar so they make you feel instantly better, and they are small and manageable. Trying to sit down to a plate of food can be torture.

    good luck chickenwings 


    1 person found this helpful
  4. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    24 November 2015 in reply to Mummybee

    thanks guys,

    I did manage a little something yesterday and I have to say I felt SO much better for eating.
    My partner made me a little lunch box to bring to work today with a few things to pick at, but so far I haven't had anything. 

    Although I must admit there are some people in the office have some pretty good smelling lunches. Which I take as a sign of improvement, because 2 days ago it would have made me feel sick.

    I've been drinking about 5 times as much water as I normally would. Simply because I know if I'm not eating, I need something. I still feel like I'm dehydrated though.

    Neil1 do you push yourself to eat when you do not feel like it? Or is it more a mindset that you have made that allows you to not have an aversion to food when you aren't well?

  5. Guest_1055
    Guest_1055 avatar
    7657 posts
    24 November 2015 in reply to Chicken Wings

    Hello chicken wings

     When you feel like you can't eat, but you are able to drink water. Do you think if you prepared a freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice or  a smoothie would that be easier to consume? At least your body would obtain some nutrients.

    xxx Shelley anne

  6. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    25 November 2015 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelley,

    I tried having some nice fruit with just a tiny bit of yogurt this morning but for whatever reason I just couldn't eat it. When I know its been too long, I will get myself something like a powerade or even a ribenna just so I have something more substantial than water.

    So far I have found that carrots have been the most successful simply because the taste isn't strong and i can nibble away just tiny bits.

  7. Guest_1055
    Guest_1055 avatar
    7657 posts
    25 November 2015 in reply to Chicken Wings

    Hey chicken wings

    I am sitting here still wondering about you, if somehow a juice ,like a juice you prepare yourself would be a benefit, because it is a liquid, like the Gatorade, but just more healthy and has more nurients. You could just make it and slowly sip it , through a straw throughout the day. I have made plenty of home made juices that are not too strong. Do you own a juicer at all?

     I have even tried coconut water, that you can purchase from Woolworths which is pretty good to sip on. The one I buy, let me think.... is the brand Cocobella, it is just the plain 100% coconut water. Anyway this has some natural electrolytes in it, a bit like a sports drink. I even think it is in the same isle. So because it has the electrolytes in it, it helps keep you hydrated very well. If you have never tasted coconut water, it quite mild, with a hint of sweetness. It has no refined sugar in it, that plain one that is, so it might be better than drinking the Gatorade. Sorry , I didn't mean to be pushy, which I am frightened you may think I am. No pushing here, only love.

    Shelley anne xxx

    PS   The carrots sound like a good idea, and they are pretty healthy. I also wanted you to know, you helped me smile today, because when you said you nibble bits of pieces from a carrot. I imagined this cute little fluffy rabbit, with dropping ears peacefully nibbling away. I am not calling you a rabbit, though. I just wanted to tell you that because you did make me smile. And I am very thankful that you blessed me in this way.


  8. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    25 November 2015 in reply to Guest_1055

    Thank you so much for your concern Shelley.
    I dont have a juicer. I did manage to eat half an apple a little earlier which I was pleased with.

    I have tried coconut water before and I don't remember enjoying it too much unfortunately.
    I guess I could also get some hydrolite since its made for when you havent been able to eat.

    Don't feel like you are being pushy, it's actually really nice to see someone care. And I'm glad the idea of me nibbling on carrots made you smile. You will be pleased to know that my dogs also love carrots and so they come for a cuddle when I have it and we have carrot and cuddles.

    Thank you Shelley.

  9. Guest_1055
    Guest_1055 avatar
    7657 posts
    25 November 2015 in reply to Chicken Wings

    That sounds super cute," carrots and cuddles", it has a nice ring to eat, like the words belong together. What type of dogs do you have?

    My dog ate carrots too, I loved the sound he made, when he ate them. A sort of loud crispy, crunchy sort of noise.

    Hydrolite is that like a food supplement in liquid form? Maybe you would be able to tolerate that then. 

    Yeah I do care about you, I hate the thought of you suffering in anyway, even though I don't really know you. I also read on another one of your threads that you were struggling today. I'm sorry. I definitely know what that is like.

    OK bye now, with hugs

    Shelley anne xxx



  10. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    25 November 2015 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hydrolite is something you can get from the chemist that you can either have as a drink, or like those icy poles that you get from the supermarket. You know those ones in plastic tubes that you put in the freezer?

    It's recommended if you've been sick and need to re hydrate. Its full of electrolytes, potassium and a little glucose  but not heaps of sugar.

    The dogs also eat capsicum, beans and mushrooms.
    One is a bitsa. I'm pretty sure he is part monkey. The other one is a weird little breed that looks like a doberman, but he is on 30cm tall.

  11. Neil_1
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    Neil_1 avatar
    4232 posts
    26 November 2015 in reply to Chicken Wings

    Hi there CW


    Hey, that’s great news about your sense of smell for food – a very good positive.  Also that you did enjoy your food the other day.


    The drinking of water and ramping up those levels is a great thing also.


    For me, it’s now a lifestyle thing for me – where I eat pretty much every 3 hours.  The meals aren’t particularly huge;  and by doing this, it keeps the bodies metabolism functioning on a high level.  It knows it’s going to be fed regularly and so it processes the food as it should.  Where I feel people can go wrong is the instances where meals are skipped – and what that does for the body and the metabolism is, the body then doesn’t know when the next meal will be coming;  so instead of burning it all up, it stores it away to use a bit later.  These stores then become that dreaded three letter word, ‘fat’.


    So it’s not really a matter of pushing myself to eat – it’s now what I’m accustomed to.  And this is where protein shakes can come into play, as one of those for me consists of a meal;   also a piece of fruit and some almonds can be another.


    I know this wouldn’t suit everyone, as we’re all different, but it’s just something I enjoy talking about.


    I guess my bottom line is:  we hopefully shouldn’t be scared of, or fear food.


    Ps:  I saw on another thread about Up ‘n Go’s – and yes, they’re good.  ALSO, if you’ve got a blender, then bung a whole stack of things in that and mix it up – any kinds of fruits, veges, nuts, oats – mix up different combo’s.  All terribly healthy for you.


    Kind regards



  12. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    26 November 2015 in reply to Neil_1

    Thanks Neil,

    That makes perfect sense. When I can eat I tend to be more of a grazer anyway. I just wish I was grazing now!
    I've brought an apple to work today and I plan to finish it before I go home. It sounds easy, hopefully it is.

  13. Guest_1055
    Guest_1055 avatar
    7657 posts
    26 November 2015 in reply to Chicken Wings

    Hi chicken wings

    Are you talking about the plastic tubes you pour liquid into and freeze. If that is the case, they sound great, since now it is getting hotter.  Would that work for you then?

    Your dog..... part monkey, is that because he clings to you, or cuddles?  That is pretty cute!




  14. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    26 November 2015 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hey Shelley,

    Sort of. They are basically frozen icy poles. Yum.
    I ate an apple at work today and right now I have hot chips in the oven, because I feel like hot chips!

    He is part monkey because he is very cute but cheeky and also he makes funny noises. He does love a good cuddle too though. He's everybody's friend.


  15. Vegangirl91
    Vegangirl91 avatar
    4 posts
    1 December 2015

    Hi Chicken wings!

     YES I lose my appetite terribly when I get anxiety. It is one of my hates physical symptoms. The others being "fog brain", heart rate, and nausea. One of life's best moments it eating an awesome meal! And I usually load up on carbs all day as a vegan. But when I get anxiety I cant bring myself to eat and even feel sick. And then youre right, you get those hunger pangs and the lethargy sits in. 


    Youre not alone. I would try for smoothes. And maybe nut mixes or I found I could often stomach one banana because it wasn't too many mouthfulls but would fill me up.


    Goodluck to us all!

    1 person found this helpful
  16. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    1 December 2015 in reply to Vegangirl91

    Hey Vegangirl,

    It's so frustrating isn't it! How I would love to be able to get stuck into a big bowl of pasta.
    I've found apples have become my best friend. I cut one up and just have it on a plate next to me whilst I'm working. I don't even realise that I'm picking away at it.
    Carrots are another good one. 

  17. Mummybee
    blueVoices member
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    103 posts
    2 December 2015 in reply to Chicken Wings

    That's a good idea, smaller bits more often rather than facing a huge meal. 😷

    See, CW, you're taking control one piece of Apple at a time. 


  18. Wendy26
    Wendy26 avatar
    1 posts
    10 December 2017 in reply to Chicken Wings

    Hi there, I noticed you posted your question 2yrs ago. I was wondering if you were successful in getting answers and you have overcome the issue with not being able to eat.

    I have been suffering from Adjustment Disorder with server anxiety, I was going really well with my recovery, however a huge stressor has set me back.

    I have not been able to eat for nearly 4 weeks now, I want to eat and I’m hungry. I have a plate of food in front of me, I take a small mouth full and end up chewing it for a few minutes and struggle to swallow it, I get 2-3 mouth fulls down, which takes me nearly 10 minutes and I just can’t force down anymore.

    I saw my psychologist 4 days ago and she suggested having Sustagen (liquid food) 3 times a day as my body will get the nutrients it needs.

    Unfortunately I have lost 7kgs in 4 weeks and I’m down to 49kgs, which I couldn’t even afford to lose that. I am still struggling to eat solid food and would love to know if you had any success.

    Reading some of the comments with saying try eating this or that, I don’t think people understand, we love all food, we want to eat, but our mind is blocking us to swallow the foods (I know people are trying to help and mean well)

    I have stopped going out in public, If one more person says to me “OMG You need to eat, look how skinny you are” I’m going to lose it and respond back “OMG look how fat you are, you need to stop eating” I know that sounds harsh, however when people say it to me, I feel the same way they would feel if someone told them they are to fat.

  19. Ben1993
    Ben1993 avatar
    6 posts
    22 December 2017 in reply to Wendy26

    Hey Wendy,

    I've been going through a similar experience with varying degree of success.
    I'm also quite skinny and feel that I 'can't afford' to lose anymore weight. Comments on my physique also seem to bother me and further fuel the anxiety around food by enforcing my lack of ability to eat in volume.

    When it comes to eating while I'm already feeling particularly anxious I know that I'm going to have a bad time getting it down and this thought process seems to make it even more difficult.

    I've found that it's the anxiety around the horrible feeling of not being able to swallow that has also hindered my efforts. The best results that I have had is reducing my overall anxiety levels to increase my appetite before eating. Rather than stressing myself about eating and forcing as much food down as possible (which I imagine just makes the anxiety worsen in future) I have found that exercising or meditating before eating has helped from meal to meal.

    Exercising seems to work really well for me but is not always possible - so at work etc I will head off on my lunch break and meditate for 10 minutes or so before eating.

    I'll never take thoroughly enjoying a meal for granted ever again.

    Let me know if you have any luck with this!

  20. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    17 January 2018 in reply to Wendy26

    Hi Wendy,

    I didn’t exactly find a cure, but I found what I could bring myself to eat. Mainly things without a setting smell.

    I also have small portions. After a while as my anxiety subsided my appetite returns. The main thing now is that I know what is happening. I eat when I can and I don’t get too hung up if I can’t.

  21. Guest_1055
    Guest_1055 avatar
    7657 posts
    17 January 2018 in reply to Chicken Wings

    Oh CW how I remember you. A massive hello to you. Hope you have been coming along okay.

    Oh big hug for you.

    Shelley xx

    1 person found this helpful
  22. Chicken Wings
    Chicken Wings avatar
    444 posts
    17 January 2018 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelley,

    It is wonderful to hear from you again.

    im having a bit of a low at the moment, not eating again. But I’m working on it.

  23. TigerRoo
    TigerRoo avatar
    7 posts
    26 May 2018 in reply to Chicken Wings
    Hi, I read your initial post and your recent one. I am also in the early stages of your complaint too suffering from anxiety/depression and recently loss of appetite. I would just like to ask you if you are receiving professional assistance by way of a therapist and/or psychiatrist? I am seeing a therapist and psychiatrist and they have been very helpful to me all though the loss of appetite is something that had developed recently and I have an appointment on Monday 28th may. All the very best to you.
  24. Faye1
    Faye1 avatar
    2 posts
    27 May 2018
    Hello I am struggling myself with food where I want to what but like others have said I struggle to. Every mouthful makes me want to cry. I force myself to eat three meals a day but only healthy food and even then I have a massive surge of guilt and have to exercise to compensate. I have seen a GP a week ago so I am still in the early stages of dealing with this but I am having a bad day today and am stuck at work and feel like I can't escape my own thoughts. I admit its a relief to hear that others have the same symptoms as me and have found a way through. I really just needed to talk to someone about my feeling right now as I try and make it through the rest of the working day.
  25. Speak Your Truth
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Speak Your Truth avatar
    964 posts
    27 May 2018 in reply to Faye1

    Hello FayeDiamond and everyone

    i have problems with eating too, and have lost weight, though not as bad as I have been. Eating a little bit of protein, no matter how small, does help me. Also eating a little of something you really like is good, but try to make healthy choices. Junk food - fatty things, very sweet things are not good choices. I live alone, but find it easier to eat if I have company.

    i hope this helps. look after you

  26. TigerRoo
    TigerRoo avatar
    7 posts
    27 May 2018 in reply to Speak Your Truth

    Loss of appetite can be related to any number of things. First step - your GP. Diagnosis with then determine where you are heading. I my case anxiety/depression has been a side effect of an operation and I have need to see a Therapist and Psychiatrist. The loss of appetite has recently sprung up and I will discuss this with my psychiatrist tomorrow although I took a half of an anti-depressant pill and it appears to have gone a long way to restoring my appetite. Regardless, we all need professional advice and not 'internet' solutions. Good luck to everyone.

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