Eating Disorders Center Impact of malnutrition on cognition and emotions
Eating Disorders Center Impact of malnutrition on cognition and emotions

Malnutrition impacts all organ systems, including the brain. This impact can be present despite an individual being of normal weight or overweight since it depends upon balanced and complete nutrition as well as overall caloric intake.

Other Affects of Malnutrition

  • Concentration, focus, and memory can be impacted leading to additional stress as the child or adolescent and those around him or her recognize that these abilities are weaker than before. ADHD should never be diagnosed when an individual is malnourished or his or her nutritional status has not been determined by a medical professional.
  • Emotions are greatly impacted as well. Malnutrition can cause symptoms of overall emotion dysregulation, including irritability, anxiety, rigidity, depression, sadness, and behavioral outbursts. 
  • Obsessive-compulsive symptoms are often heightened by poor nutrition and sometimes resolve when nutrition is improved.
  • We carefully monitor symptoms of inattention, anxiety, and depression within the context of nutritional status. We maintain a cautious approach to diagnosing additional mental health concerns, given the potential impact of malnutrition.

 

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