Can depression lead me to forget to eat?

This article will explain why depression may lead you to forget to eat, and how much this can harm you. Aside from that, the article will show what are ways to cope with this.

Can depression lead me to forget to eat? 

Yes, it is possible that when you are depressed, you can forget to eat. Forgetting to eat may be an indicator that you are depressed. That is because experiencing changes in your eating pattern for a prolonged period is a common symptom of depression.

In a study that analyzed the appetite of people that are depressed, it was discovered that around 48% of people with depression will have a decreased sense of hunger. Adding to the thought that forgetting it may be an indicator of depression. 

And it is not only that your appetite may have changed, and you don’t feel hungry. It can be that depression leads you to such a state of apathy or numbness that hunger is the furthest thing from your mind. 

You may feel completely disconnected from the world around you, and even your needs. This can happen when you are stressed, and your body is not hearing the hunger cues.

So even if your body is giving you signs of hunger, you may not become aware of it. You can also forget to eat when you are depressed because there are a lot of negative thoughts going through your mind. 

Depression tends to lead us to a state of rumination. And getting out of it can be so difficult that you may even lose track of your time and needs, including eating.

Aside from that, there are other factors in depression that can lead you to forget to eat. Depression can affect your energy levels, which can lead you to think it seems impossible to prepare some food or even reach out for something to eat.

It will also affect some of your cognitive functions. For example, depression can make it harder for you to focus and can impair your memory. Because of that, you may find eating and preparing your food a lot harder, and that, with time, can lead you to just forgetting to eat, and eating can become a huge hassle.

Why is it bad if I forget to eat when I am depressed?

It is bad if you forget to eat when you are depressed because it can lead to many more problems. The first one is related to the cycle you will put yourself in: depression will usually take up all of your energy, and since you are not eating, your energy levels will never find a way to improve.

In the same way, not eating can make your cognitive functions even worse. So it is most likely that your ability to focus and your memory will be even worse as you forget to eat. Aside from that, forgetting to eat can often lead to an eating disorder. Making it harder to go back on the eating track.

When you are forgetting to eat, you also cease to receive the benefits quality food would have on your mood. There are a lot of foods that can help with the production of serotonin, and other neurotransmitters that are responsible for improving your mood. And when you are forgetting to eat, you are preventing your body from getting all of that.

But if you are depressed, and have realized that you are skipping too many meals, and don’t feel hungry anymore, here are some ways you can cope so the lack of eating doesn’t harm you even more.

How can I cope if depression is making me forget to eat? 

Here are some ways you can keep yourself nourished, even if you feel depression may have caused you to forget to eat.

Try to keep an eating routine 

You know how your body used to work before depression, and even though it may be behaving differently, it is important to keep in mind what your needs are. Since you may not be so active while struggling with depression, you may need less food.

But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat, or that it is okay to forget to eat when you are depressed. Try to set yourself a routine for moments in which you will eat things, you may be hungry or not, but just try to have some food in you. Maybe having two moments a day when you will eat something is already a good start.

Change your line of thought

Don’t keep thinking that you should want to eat, or look at your plate and feel something positive. When you are depressed, apathy can take over, so sometimes all you need to do is eat something to allow your body to get some energy.

Keep healthy snacks at hand 

When depression is hitting you hard, try to keep some healthy snacks at hand. It can be that you will have fruits, or nuts, at hand. And as you are in bed, or completely lost in your rumination, you can get some of those snacks and eat them. It won’t be a full meal, but at this point, whatever you can get your hands on is relevant.

But surrender to what you want

If at some moment you get an urge to eat a pizza, or some mac and cheese, please surrender to it. Getting the urge to eat, or feeling hungry has been so rare, that it is important to not hold yourself back at that moment. Eat the pizza or the mac and cheese.

Ask for help 

When you are going through depression, counting on the help of your loved ones is incredibly important. When it comes to your eating patterns, it can be one of the areas in which others can help you the most. 

Once you realize you haven’t been eating, and not even feeling hungry, you can talk about it with a family member or one of your friends.

And there are many ways they can help you. They can go to the grocery store, get you some food, and cook for you. Leaving some snacks prepared and set aside for you is also a great way to help. 

Aside from that, they can join you during meal times to help you keep to your eating routine, or order some food to have it delivered to your place.

Look for treatment

As with anyone going through depression, know that if you have been forgetting to eat, it can be a sign that your depression is getting worse, or that you need to be diagnosed. It is important that, at this moment, you look for professional help. 

You may look for a therapist, and a psychiatrist that will help you understand the condition better, and how it has been affecting you. They will also be a way to start your healing process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Can depression lead me to forget to eat? 

Can anxiety affect my appetite?

Yes, anxiety can also lead to changes in your appetite. That happens because when you are anxious you will experience changes in your body, and in your emotions to help you deal with the pressure. 

All these changes can have a huge effect on your digestive tract, causing you to lose your appetite, and usually, once you are not stressed anymore, your appetite will return.

How can I improve my appetite? 

If you are feeling like your appetite is not as good as it used to be, there are some ways to improve it. The first thing you should do is prepare flavourful and attractive meals. This will make eating easier.

You can also have smaller meals, but try to put enough calories in them to guarantee you will eat enough to get the energy you need. Eating foods you love is also a way to improve your appetite.

You can also improve it by focusing on foods that have a good nutritional level, and by trying to learn again how eating can be a source of pleasure. Finally, you may improve your appetite by putting up reminders for you to eat, especially if you are going through depression.

What are the reasons that can lead a person to lose their appetite? 

Some reasons can cause a person to lose their appetite. Besides depression, a person can lose their appetite if they are feeling anxious, or dealing with a highly stressful situation. 

They may also lose their appetite when they are going through some illness such as a cold, stomach flu, or even a common cold. When a woman is pregnant they can also lose their appetite, in the same way as having some health conditions such as liver or kidney disease.

A person that struggles with chronic pain may also lose their appetite, in the same way as people that are taking some forms of medications such as antibiotics, or sedatives. It can also happen that elderly people will lose their appetite due to some health condition, or because they have a slower metabolism.

What will happen to my body if I don’t eat for 3 days? 

If you stop eating for 3 days, it will surely affect you. The first thing it will happen is that your brain will start asking for you to eat. You may become more irritable and aggressive during this period, but at some point, your body will adjust to it.

But aside from that, if you don’t eat for 3 days it is most likely that your breath will start to smell, because of the ketosis your body will go through. And exactly because of that, you will lose weight.

Why do I seem to not be hungry in the morning?

It can happen that some people won’t feel as hungry in the morning as in other parts of the day. This can happen because you have a huge dinner and one mostly high in protein and fat.

You may also have experienced some hormonal changes at night that led you to not be hungry. It can also happen if you are anxious or depressed, or even if you are pregnant.

If you have any health condition, it can change your appetite and make you not feel hungry in the morning, or you have some other condition, for example, you are taking a medication that changes your eating pattern.


This article explained why depression can cause you to forget to eat, and how this can be harmful to you. It also showed ways you may try to cope with this situation.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.