Can Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Cause Loss of Appetite?

Bipolar mania and not eating are commonly linked. Find out why those with bipolar disorder can experience a loss of appetite on HealthyPlace.

If you are experiencing bipolar mania and not eating, you are not alone.  Many people in a manic phase of bipolar disorder have a loss of appetite. Sometimes because of forgetfulness, or perhaps an increased sense of contentment, bipolar mania and not eating are commonly linked.

Bipolar Mania and Not Eating

If bipolar mania is causing you not to eat, it is imperative you identify ways to get back to nourishing your body in a healthy way. Diet and nutrition are vital aspects of everyone’s mental health. Yet when it comes to those with bipolar disorder, a healthy diet is essential to symptom management and thus, the overall quality of life.

Of course, the severity of one’s bipolar disorder (and the length of time in the manic phase) can affect the level to which appetite is affected. For some, a loss of appetite can last a day or two, while others experiencing bipolar mania may not want to eat for weeks.

Bipolar, Manic, and Loss of Appetite

Being in a bipolar manic state and not eating due to loss of appetite can be very dangerous. Although you may not be feeling your regular hunger cues, it is essential you continue to incorporate a healthy diet and eat on a consistent basis throughout the day (Do Vitamins for Bipolar Help at All?). Following a healthy diet for bipolar will not only help you stave off the potential physical problems of not eating, it can also aid in the management of your bipolar mania symptoms. A healthy bipolar diet consists of:

  • Beans – beans are rich in magnesium, and according to much research, magnesium has shown to reduce mania symptoms. So, if you have bipolar mania and are not eating, beginning to incorporate beans could be a good place to start.
  • Salt – using salt consistently, as those with bipolar have a sodium imbalance in the brain. Sodium imbalances can lead to mental confusion, mood swings, sweating, fever, and diarrhea.
  • Omega-3’s – found in mackerel, herring, trout, salmon, and tuna.  Omega-3’s are synonymous with healthy brain function, and healthy brain function which can help with the impulsivity associated with bipolar mania.
  • Turkey – tryptophan is an amino acid found in turkey.  Although it has become synonymous with the sleepy feeling experienced by many after Thanksgiving dinner, tryptophan helps in the production of serotonin.  Many also believe tryptophan aids in bipolar mania symptom management.  If you do not like turkey, tryptophan can also be found in eggs, tofu, and cheese.

If you trying to stay consistent with your diet when in a manic phase and experiencing a loss of appetite, it is important to know there are certain things to stay away from.  Following a healthy diet for bipolar disorder means cutting out:

  • Caffeine – caffeine can cause sleep interruption and loss of appetite, which can worsen bipolar symptoms overall.  Additionally, caffeine in itself can trigger bipolar mania (Coffee and Bipolar Disorder Don’t Mix).
  • Alcohol – alcohol not only negatively impacts the effectiveness of bipolar medications, it can also exacerbate mood swings.  Plus, if you have bipolar mania and loss of appetite, alcohol may contribute to the impulsivity you might be experiencing.

If bipolar mania and not eating go hand-in-hand for you, beginning to incorporate a diet consisting of the above-mentioned foods can be helpful.  Yet, if you find you are having difficulty managing your bipolar and loss of appetite, it is important to seek the advice of a medical professional.

article references

APA Reference
Jarrold, J. (2018, May 30). Can Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Cause Loss of Appetite?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, May 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar/foods-and-bipolar/can-bipolar-disorder-symptoms-cause-loss-of-appetite

Last Updated: 2019, April 16

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD