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A 34-year-old member asked:

Is being hungry a lot purely a psychological thing?

10 doctor answers17 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ahmad Aslami
Specializes in Family Medicine
Yes: Obese people have underlying psychological disorder.
Dr. Ahmad Aslami
Specializes in Family Medicine
Yes: Hunger is a biochemical phenomenon and natural, how much you eat to satisfy hunger becomes psychological issue.
Dr. Leonard Popowich
Specializes in Family Medicine
No: Patients may indeed be physically or psychologially hungry.
Dr. C Jeffrey Holmes
Family Medicine 37 years experience
Certain diseases can: Certain diseases increase hunger or stimulate eating to relieve symptoms.
Dr. Elizabeth Edmunds
Specializes in Family Medicine
No: Excessive hunger can be a sign of diabetes or other endocrine problems. It is important to know whether it is associated with weight changes, skin changes, or frequent urination during the day or night.
Dr. Albert Pizzo
Family Medicine 61 years experience
Usually not : Hunger is a complex sensation and often has many reasons for hunger that is out of the ordinary. There are several diseases that can increase hunger and also several medications along with psycological causes.
Dr. Paul Leavitt
Specializes in Family Medicine
Possibly: Being hungry a lot can be either a psychological or physical thing. Everybody is different. Feelings and emotions can come into play. Some people are stress eaters or eat when they are bored. Some medicines increase hunger. Most importantly, remember to eat small, healthy meals every 2-4 hours. Be sure to see your family doctor who can order complete blood work to make sure you are healthy.
Dr. Adeyemi Fatoki
Specializes in Bariatrics
No: Certain medical conditions like uncontrolled diabetes and hyperthyroidism may make a person more hungry than normal. It is a good idea to have tests done to check for these and other medical conditions before assuming that a person's hunger is only "psychological".
Dr. Evan Allen
Family Medicine 31 years experience
Possibly: Many people do eat more when under stress, and may choose less healthy food items during these periods of time. High carbohydrate foods tend to release serotonin in the brain which acts as a short-term antidepressant. However, excessive hunger can also be a symptom of thyroid problems, diabetes and other potentially serious illnesses and should be investigated by a doctor.
Dr. Jerry Smith
Clinical Psychology 15 years experience
Rule out: One would always want to rule out physiological causes before assuming something is "purely a psychological thing."

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Last updated Feb 8, 2017

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