Living beings need food to survive, so a loss of appetite can be surprising and problematic. The drive to eat has both physical and mental components, and disruption of either aspect can be responsible for a lack of hunger. When a hormonal, emotional, or physical issue arises, it can put a person off food until balance is restored.
It is not unusual for people to lose their appetite during times of stress. Anxiety can trigger a chain of responses in the body and brain that activate the fight-or-flight response. Hormones like adrenaline flood the body and direct resources to crucial life-saving functions, diverting energy from less immediate needs like digestion. Stress-related appetite loss also happens when a person is so focused on the problem that they put off eating or nauseated from anxiety.
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