Increased Appetite

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An increase in appetite can be a normal physiological response that occurs, for example, in children and adolescents during periods of growth or following strenuous activity or excessive caloric demand. In some case, an increase in appetite can be a sign of an abnormal condition, such as some endocrinologic conditions. Increased appetite may also be seen in certain emotional or psychiatric conditions, as well as a response to stress, anxiety, or depression. Certain prescription drugs can also increase appetite. It is important to take into account the context and any related emotional or physical factors when determining whether one has an abnormally increased appetite. "Polyphagia" is the medical term for excessive eating.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2010

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REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Increased Appetite
    • Anxiety Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by physical symptoms. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses...learn more »
      In This Article
      Anxiety Article
      • Generalized anxiety disorder facts
      • What is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?
      • What are the different types of anxiety?
      • How common is generalized anxiety disorder?
      • What are causes and risk factors for anxiety?
      • What are anxiety symptoms and signs?
      • How is generalized anxiety disorder diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for anxiety?
      • What are the side effects of anxiety medications?
      • What are complications of generalized anxiety disorder?
      • Is it possible to prevent anxiety?
      • What is the prognosis of generalized anxiety disorder?
      • Are there support groups for those with generalized anxiety disorder?
      • Where can people find additional information on generalized anxiety disorder?
    • Binge Eating Disorder Characteristics of binge eating disorder include eating more quickly than usual, eating until uncomfortably full, eating a lot of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Binge Eating Disorder Article
      • Binge eating disorder facts
      • What is binge eating disorder?
      • What are causes and risk factors for binge eating disorder?
      • What are symptoms and signs of binge eating disorder?
      • How is binge eating disorder diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for binge eating disorder?
      • What are complications and prognosis of binge eating disorder?
      • Can binge eating disorder be prevented?
      • Where can people get more information on binge eating disorder?
    • Bulimia People with bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder that involves episodes of bingeing and purging, experience symptoms and signs...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bulimia Article
      • Bulimia nervosa facts
      • What is bulimia?
      • What are causes and risk factors for bulimia?
      • What are symptoms and signs of bulimia?
      • How do physicians diagnose bulimia?
      • What is the treatment for bulimia?
      • What are complications of bulimia?
      • What is the prognosis for bulimia?
      • Is it possible to prevent bulimia?
      • Where can one find more information about bulimia?
      • Are there support groups for people with bulimia?
    • Depression Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one...learn more »
      In This Article
      Depression Article
      • Depression facts
      • What is a depressive disorder?
      • What are myths about depression?
      • What are the types of depression, and what are depression symptoms and signs?
      • Depression symptoms and signs in men
      • Depression symptoms and signs in women
      • Depression symptoms and signs in teenagers
      • Depression symptoms and signs in children
      • What are the causes and risk factors for depression?
      • Postpartum depression
      • How is depression diagnosed?
      • What treatments are available for depression?
      • What is the general approach to treating depression?
      • What about sexual dysfunction related to antidepressants?
      • What about discontinuing antidepressants?
      • What are complications of depression?
      • What is the prognosis for depression?
      • How can depression be prevented?
      • What about self-help and home remedies for depression?
      • How can someone help a person who is depressed?
      • Where can one seek help for depression?
      • What is in the future for depression?
      • Where can people find more information about depression?
    • Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes...learn more »
      In This Article
      Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Article
      • Diabetes facts
      • What is diabetes?
      • What is the impact of diabetes?
      • What causes diabetes?
      • What are the different types of diabetes?
      • Type 1 diabetes
      • Type 2 diabetes
      • Other types of diabetes
      • What are diabetes symptoms?
      • How is diabetes diagnosed?
      • Why is blood sugar checked at home?
      • What are the acute complications of diabetes?
      • What are the chronic complications of diabetes?
      • What can be done to slow diabetes complications?
    • Fitness Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety....learn more »
      In This Article
      Fitness Article
      • The importance of physical activity and fitness
      • Why should I be active?
      • Can everyone benefit from physical activity?
      • What are the recommendations for increasing fitness for youth, adults, and seniors?
      • How do I get started with a fitness plan?
      • When is a medical evaluation necessary?
      • How can I make physical activity a part of my life?
      • What are the components of physical fitness?
      • Fitness terms
    • Graves' Disease Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. Some of the symptoms of Graves' disease include hand tremors,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Graves' Disease Article
      • Graves' disease facts*
      • What is Graves' disease?
      • What are the symptoms of Graves' disease?
      • Who gets Graves' disease?
      • What causes Graves' disease?
      • How do I find out if I have Graves' disease?
      • How is Graves' disease treated?
      • What could happen if Graves' disease is not treated?
      • Does pregnancy affect the thyroid?
      • Do I need a thyroid test if I become pregnant?
      • I have Graves' disease and want to have a baby. What should I do before I try to become pregnant?
      • How is Graves' disease managed during pregnancy?
      • Can I breastfeed if I am taking antithyroid medicine for Graves' disease?
      • For more information on Graves' disease
    • Hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone resulting from an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart...learn more »
      In This Article
      Hyperthyroidism Article
      • Hyperthyroidism facts
      • What is hyperthyroidism?
      • What are thyroid hormones?
      • Thyroid hormone regulation--the chain of command
      • What causes hyperthyroidism?
      • What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?
      • How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?
      • How is hyperthyroidism treated?
      • What's best for you?
    • Hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia is a syndrome caused by low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include palpitations, trembling, intense hunger,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Hypoglycemia Article
      • What is hypoglycemia?
      • Who is at risk for hypoglycemia?
      • I thought high blood sugar was bad. Why is low blood sugar also bad?
      • Can the body protect itself from hypoglycemia?
      • What are symptoms of hypoglycemia and how low is too low?
      • How is hypoglycemia treated?
      • Is there anything else that should be done to manage hypoglycemia?
    • Marijuana Get the latest marijuana statistics and information. Learn its negative effects and how this illegal drug, also known as pot,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Marijuana Article
      • Marijuana facts
      • What is marijuana, and how is it abused?
      • What is medical marijuana? How is medical marijuana prescribed?
      • What are other names for marijuana?
      • What is the history and different types of marijuana?
      • Is marijuana addictive?
      • What are the psychological and social effects of abusing marijuana?
      • What are the physical effects of abusing marijuana?
      • What are the treatments for marijuana abuse and addiction?
      • Can marijuana abuse and addiction be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis of marijuana abuse and addiction?
      • Where can people find more information about marijuana abuse and addiction?
    • Obesity Obesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are...learn more »
      In This Article
      Obesity Article
      • Obesity facts
      • What is obesity?
      • How common is obesity?
      • What are the health risks associated with obesity?
      • What causes obesity?
      • What are other factors associated with obesity?
      • How is body fat measured?
      • What about weight-for-height tables?
      • What is the body mass index (BMI)?
      • Does it matter where body fat is located? (Is it worse to be an "apple" or a "pear"?)
      • What can be done about obesity?
      • What is the role of physical activity and exercise in obesity?
      • What is the role of diet in the treatment of obesity?
      • What is the role of medication in the treatment of obesity?
      • What about herbal fen/phen?
      • What about meal substitutes, artificial sweeteners, and OTC products?
      • What is the role of surgery in the treatment of obesity?
      • How can patients choose a safe and successful weight-loss program?
    • Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) There are many symptoms involved in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. The first early pregnancy symptom is typically...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) Article
      • Pregnancy facts*
      • Introduction
      • What is the first trimester (week 1-week 12)?
      • What is the second trimester (week 13-week 28)?
      • What is the third trimester (week 29-week 40)?
      • How will my baby develop week by week?
      • What are the changes that happen to a woman's body during her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy?
      • Body aches
      • Breast changes
      • Constipation
      • Dizziness
      • Fatigue, sleep problems
      • Heartburn and indigestion
      • Hemorrhoids during pregnancy
      • Itching
      • Leg cramps
      • Morning sickness
      • Nasal problems
      • Numb or tingling hands
      • Stretch marks, skin changes
      • Swelling
      • Urinary frequency and leaking
      • Varicose veins
    • Stress Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Stress Article
      • Stress facts
      • What is stress?
      • A brief history of stress
      • What are the signs and symptoms of poorly managed stress?
      • Who is most vulnerable to stress?
      • Teen stress
      • What is the healthy response to stress?
      • How does the response to stress work?
      • What is the role of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (grouping) in stress?
      • What is the role of the locus coeruleus in stress?
      • How do the connections in the brain work in stress?
      • What do we know about using (activating) and overusing our internal systems that respond to stress?
      • What are the effects of stress on medical and psychological conditions?
      • Conclusions about the effects of stress
      • What can people do for stress management?
      • What's in the future for stress?
Other Causes of Increased Appetite
  • Brain Damage (Hypothalamic Damage)
  • Growth Spurts
  • Medications
  • Menstrual Phases


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