What Causes Loss of Appetite In Teens?

Sudden Loss of Appetite In Teens

Image: Shutterstock

Is your teenager eating less than usual diet? Are you worried about your teen’s sudden loss of appetite? If yes, then read the article below to know more on loss of appetite in teens.

Eating habits of teenagers are often haphazard. They go through frequent bouts of reduced food intake for reasons such as grumpiness and mood swings. It may be difficult to ascertain whether their appetite loss is due to moodiness or some serious issue. Prolonged loss of appetite can lead to unhealthy weight loss, poor academic performance, illnesses etc. Therefore, it is important to keep a watchful eye on their eating patterns and in case of a problem, handle the issue diligently.

Here are some causes that lead to sudden loss of appetite in teens and tips to deal with the problem.

1. Stress:

Stress can be one big reason for teenage loss of appetite. Teenage years are rife with growing pains and hormonal surge, which can be really stressful for some teens. Pressure of keeping up with academics and sports, learning disabilities, peer pressure and problems at school, death or loss of a loved one, divorce of parents, unhealthy home atmosphere can also cause stress in teenagers’ life (1) .All these reasons can easily lead to a decrease in their appetites.

Talk to them to understand what may be causing your teen to feel stressed. It is absolutely important to let your kids know you are there for them. Encourage them to participate in their favorite activities to help them reduce their stress. Try to have an easygoing and happy atmosphere at home. Make time for family meals. If parents are often absent during meal time, the teens may begin to show signs of depression or stress.

[ Read: Stress Management For Teens ]

2. Depression:

Teens can suffer from depression due to any number of reasons. Undue stress can also lead to depression. One of the symptoms of depression is reduced appetite or changes in eating patterns (2) .To know for sure if its depression or just mood swings look for additional symptoms of depression affecting your teen such as changes in sleeping patterns, lack of interest in attending school or participating in their favorite activities, not socializing with friends etc (3).

Talk to your teenager if they are suffering from depression to help them figure out the cause for the condition. Arrange for therapy sessions if your teen is open to it. Do not force them to action as it may further intensify their symptoms.

3. Eating Disorders:

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia are dangerous as people suffering from them starve themselves or exercise excessively in order to not gain any weight. If your teen’s refusal to eat food becomes a pattern then take preventive action before the condition becomes a disorder (4).

[ Read: Common Eating Disorders In Teenagers ]

4. Illnesses:

A child sick with fever or cold is not likely to eat much food. But reduced appetite may also be a result of serious diseases such as mononucleosis (5). The appetite is generally on track after recovery is complete. If you notice their loss of interest in food on a regular or prolonged basis, it could mean an underlying medical condition. If such is the case consult with a doctor immediately.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Anorexia In Teens ]

5. Medications:

Certain medications cause reduced interest in food. If you kid is on medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), he might suffer from low appetite or loss of interest in food (6).

Your kid may need the ADHD medicines but do talk to their doctors if it’s possible to lower the dosage. Need for certain medications may be temporary or prolonged. In any case, find ways to feed your teen healthy snacks, fruits and vegetables so that they do not suffer from nutritional deficiencies.

[ Read: Tips To Make Your Teen Eat Healthy ]

Loss of appetite in teenagers can become a serious issue if it continues for a long period of time. Let you teenagers have a few days here and there with their fluctuating appetites. But do not hold back when it’s time to intervene in the matter.

Have your teenagers ever suffered from loss of appetite? How did you handle the issue? Please share your ideas in the comments.

Recommended Articles:

Was this information helpful?

Comments are moderated by MomJunction editorial team to remove any personal, abusive, promotional, provocative or irrelevant observations. We may also remove the hyperlinks within comments.