Appetite Disorders

Appetite Disorders

What are appetite disorders?

Appetite disorders, also known as eating disorders, is the umbrella term for a range of psychiatric disorders where eating, exercise, and body weight/shape become an unhealthy obsession affecting various areas of the patient’s life. Anyone can get an appetite disorder, but teenagers between 13 and 17 are mostly affected.

There are a number of different appetite disorders, each with its own set of symptoms, causes and treatment options. They include:

  • Anorexia nervosa, where the patient tries to control their weight by not eating enough food, exercising too much, or both
  • Bulimia nervosa, where the patient loses control over how much they eat and then taking drastic action to not put on weight, such as throwing up after eating
  • Binge eating disorder (BED), where the patient eats large portions of food until they feel uncomfortably full
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), where the symptoms may not exactly fit the expected symptoms for any specific eating disorder
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), where the patient avoids certain foods, limits how much they eat, or both

What are the symptoms of appetite disorders?

As noted above, each type of appetite disorder has its own specific symptoms. However, there are some common behavioural symptoms that they share:

  • Spending a lot of time worrying about weight and/or body shape
  • Avoiding socialising where food may be involved
  • Eating very little food
  • Making oneself sick or taking laxatives after eating
  • Exercising too much
  • Having very strict habits or routines around food
  • Unusual changes in mood such as being withdrawn, anxious, or depressed

There are also some physical symptoms to watch out for:

  • Feeling cold, tired, or dizzy
  • Pains, tingling or numbness in the arms and legs
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fainting or feeling faint
  • Problems with digestion, such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea
  • Weighing much more or less than the average for that age and height
  • Disruption to the menstrual cycle or other delayed signs of puberty

What causes appetite disorders?

There is no defined cause for appetite disorders. In general, experts agree that it differs from person to person. However, the following factors may make them more likely to occur:

  • Genetic history of eating disorders, depression, or alcohol or drug misuse
  • Being criticised for eating habits, body shape, or weight, especially at a young age
  • Stress about being slim, particularly when coupled with pressure from society, relationships or work
  • Pre-existing anxiety, low self-esteem, an obsessive personality, or being a perfectionist
  • History of sexual abuse

What treatment options are available for appetite disorders?

Many people recover from appetite disorders with the right treatment. However, it will likely take time and recovery is different for everyone. Mos treatment options are through a team of professionals, including a GP, therapist, and an eating disorder specialist where possible.

Treatment depends on the type of appetite disorder in question, but usually includes talking therapy. The patient may also need regular health checks if the disorder is having an impact on physical health. Treatment may also involve working through a guided self-help programme, especially with bulimia or binge eating disorder. Most people will be offered individual therapy, but those with binge eating disorder may be offered group therapy.


How can medical cannabis help with appetite disorders?

When traditional treatment methods can’t provide sufficient relief, alternative methods are often explored. Medical cannabis has been connected with both anorexia and bulimia by Gary Wenk, P.h.D for Psychology Today, where he states that “considerable evidence suggests that the endogenous endocannabinoid system has an important role in signalling rewarding events, such as eating”. He goes on to suggest that medical cannabis “ may help reverse the symptoms of anorexia and bulimia”.

In addition, people with appetite disorders may also suffer from other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Medical cannabis can help with symptoms of these disorders as well.

The Medical Cannabis Clinics’ team is dedicated to raising awareness about how medical cannabis can help with a range of psychiatric conditions, including appetite disorders. Your prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary.

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, we offer personalised treatment plans and private care for patients through online video link consultations with our expert specialist doctors, who will guide you through the treatment options available from the clinic.

Appointments start from just £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to offer you targeted advice and treatment plans, unique to your needs and symptoms.

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