Decreased Appetite can be caused by a variety of conditions and diseases, some of which can be temporary and reversible. Any persisting decreased appetite should be evaluated by your doctor or a health care professional. Bulimia nervosa is another eating disorder that is commonly associated with anorexia. It is characterized by repeated cycles of binge eating and purging.

Overeating is the third form of an eating disorder, and it’s one that can lead to obesity, with all of the accompanying health problems. Anorexia nervosa is seen as an addiction-type illness, but in many ways, it takes after delusional psychosis.

Decreased Appetite

Individuals suffering from Anorexia nervosa often see themselves as overweight, regardless of their true physical states. This false belief causes them to engage in extreme abstinence from food until serious health complications forces treatment. Anorexia nervosa can also cause malnutrition.

Anorexia can be caused by a variety of conditions and diseases, some of which can be temporary and reversible. People who have this condition are typically underweight and have a fear of gaining weight. Lacking the urge to eat can accompany nausea. It can also endanger your health when you do not consume enough nutrients to maintain your health.

Causes of Anorexia

Causes of loss of appetite include:

Bacteria and viruses

Anorexia can be caused by bacterial, viral, fungal, or other infections like:

  • Upper respiratory infection,
  • Pneumonia,
  • Gastroenteritis,
  • Colitis,
  • Skin infection, or
  • Meningitis, etc…

Psychological causes

There are various psychological causes for a decreased appetite, and your appetite may tend to decrease when you’re sad, depressed, grieving, or anxious. Boredom and stress have also been linked to a decreased appetite, and many older adults lose their appetites too.

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Medical conditions and Medications

The following medical conditions and medications/drugs may reduce your appetite:

  • Pregnancy,
  • Metabolic problems,
  • Chronic liver disease,
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,
  • Dementia,
  • HIV,
  • Hepatitis,
  • Hypothyroidism,
  • Chronic kidney failure,
  • Heart failure,
  • Cocaine, Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, and Antibiotics.
  • Chemotherapy

Treatment of Anorexia

Treatment for a decreased appetite usually depends on its cause.

For bacterial or viral infection, your appetite will quickly return once your infection is cured, and if anorexia is due to a medical condition such as chronic illness like cancer, eating with family and friends, cooking your favorite foods, or going out to eat may help to encourage eating.

Light exercise may also help to increase appetite, or you might consider eating light snacks in between meals.

Furthermore, eating frequent small meals can be helpful, and are usually easier on the stomach than large meals. Meals should be high in calories and protein, in order to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients from food.

It can be useful to keep a diary of what you eat and drink over a period of time to help your doctor assess your nutritional intake and the degree of your decreased appetite.

Finally, if your decreased appetite is caused by a short-term condition, you’re likely to recover naturally, but if your decreased appetite is caused by a medical condition, the condition could worsen, unless it is treated.

Symptoms of Decreased Appetite

If left untreated, your decreased appetite can lead to more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • General ill feeling

If your decreased appetite persists and you develop malnutrition or vitamin deficiencies, you can have life-threatening complications. Thus it’s important to seek medical attention if you have decreased appetite (anorexia) that lasts longer than a few weeks.

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