Anxiety's Harmful Impact on Eating Disorder Recovery

In addition to my past eating disorder history, I am also someone who deals with anxiety in the present. This duality is not unique—in fact, an estimated 65 percent of those with eating disorders meet the diagnostic criteria for anxiety too.After numerous years of both residential treatment and other therapeutic modalities, I have learned how to manage the effects of anxiety, but in those times when stress wreaks particular havoc on my baseline functioning, I find that anxiety can influence my appetite.

The coiled tension in my stomach makes food entirely unappetizing which is not ideal for someone like me in eating disorder recovery. But I am definitely not alone in this response to stressful circumstances. Last year, over 60 percent of Americans fasted, skipped meals, or restricted their food intake altogether due to the anxiety of COVID-19.2 Lack of appetite is a common reaction, but it can be harmful—especially for those who are susceptible to eating disorder behaviors. So how do I combat the influence anxiety can have on my appetite, and how do I continue to nourish myself despite the tension, discomfort, or nausea I might feel? I will talk more about this in the video below.

How I Prioritize Eating When Anxiety Influences My Appetite in ED Recovery

Does anxiety tend to influence your appetite and make it difficult or uncomfortable to eat? How do you combat anxiety to stay on track with eating disorder recovery? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so please share in the comment section below.


  1. DeBoer, L., et al., "Anxiety and Disordered Eating." Cognitive Therapy and Research, October 2013.
  2. Khubchandani, J., et al., "The COVID-19 Pandemic, Stress, and Eating Practices in the United States." European Journal of Investigation in Health Psychology and Education, October 2020.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2021, May 26). Anxiety's Harmful Impact on Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Connect with Mary-Elizabeth on Facebook, Instagram and her personal blog.

Lizanne Corbit
May, 26 2021 at 6:19 pm

Your 3 ways to help prioritize eating are so well-said and helpful. This is an amazing statistic, "over 60 percent of Americans fasted, skipped meals, or restricted their food intake altogether due to the anxiety of COVID-19"-- 60%! Anxiety and appetite are absolutely linked and this can be so helpful for people to realize and look at. It's easy for us to overlook certain behaviors as being linked to something like anxiety.

May, 27 2021 at 12:00 pm

Hi Lizanne,
Thank you so much for reaching out with your feedback. I agree—that statistic immediately caught my attention as well. It's so important to be aware of how anxiety-inducing circumstances can impact us not just mentally, but physically too.

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