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Anxiety makes my chocolate taste gross

Posted Aug 23 2008 10:35pm
When I get anxious, I lose my appetite. Now, I'm anxious a lot, and before I was on meds , I would lose weight during my "anxious episodes." Which could range from an afternoon of being a quivering ball of nervous goo, to several weeks of frantic job searching, apartment hunting, or exams.

When the anxiety gets really bad (which it does on a MUCH less frequent basis), I get nauseous and throw up. I don't try to vomit- the food just won't stay down.

In a person with severe anxiety, this can make eating not always the most palatable (ahem) of tasks- even after the anxiety leaves.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel may have some insights on this. A recent study they did called " Taste-dependent sociophobia : when food and company don't mix ." They found that

in the rat, eating while anxious may result in long-term alterations in social behavior ...the association of taste with delayed negative internal states that could generate [responses] that are different from taste aversion should not be neglected. Such associations may contribute to the ontogenesis , reinforcement and symptoms of some types of taste- and food-related disorders...

[emphasis mine]

This is intriguing considering that many people with eating disorders don't like to eat in public; indeed, this can be one of the first apparent signs of illness. Besides OCD , social phobia is the most common pre -existing anxiety disorder reported by those with anorexia. Ultimately, this study shows that the relationship between eating disorders and anxiety may be even more complex and convoluted than originally thought.
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