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Eating Disorders

Starvation

06/03/2011

Question:

I have been under alot of stress and I haven`t been eating but for very little aprox 300 to 400 calories a day for the past few weeks. My weight has droped from 127 to 108 in 7 weeks. I don`t feel like eating and sometimes the smell of it makes me feel sick. I take a few bites and it becomes hard to swallow. I am concerned that I have droped the weight as I am 5`6 and female. I don`t understand what is going on.

Answer:

When stress increases and one is overwhelmed with difficult demands or some major problems, the body treats each stressor like a battle. The stomach does not want to accept food while the body is focused on fighting the stress.  Hunger decreases and tension is high. The body will move into high battle mode for a while, but it functions on the assumption that the battle will end soon, then appetite should return and the body will be extra hungry to replace loss of body mass and needed energy. 

Since this is not a true war or physical battle you are fighting in a few hours, in the meantime, one has to almost force oneself to eat to assure ongoing energy.

If appetite loss and high tension continues beyond 2 weeks, I highly recommend that you see your Primary Care Physician, to check out if there are any physical complications that are perpetuating the weight loss or if anything needs to be addressed to help you calm your body while facing your stressors.

For more information:

Go to the Eating Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Laura  L Hill, PhD Laura L Hill, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University