A change of appetite refers to when a person notices a significant increase or decrease in their appetite and interest in either food or eating. For people who are suffering from depression, a change of appetite most commonly refers to a significant decrease in appetite. A person with a decreased appetite will often complain of feeling like they are being “forced to eat.”
A change of appetite can also refer to a significant increase in appetite, or cravings for specific foods.
Appetite changes can be severe and result in a significant weight loss or weight gain in an individual who has experienced a change of appetite.
A change of appetite as a symptom shouldn’t be confused with a pre-existing eating disorder, such as binge-eating or anorexia. Typically a change of appetite is not the focus of the problem, but rather one of a constellation of symptoms.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Apr 2010