Anger related to hunger

Anger related to hunger.

Anger related to hunger. Hangry is an anagram of the words ‘hungry’ and ‘angry’. Listed in Collins Dictionary, Hanger describes the typhoon of grumpiness when hungry as meaning “irritable – as a result of feeling hungry.”

‘Food swings’ such as irritability, anger, stress and anxiety related to hunger are caused by a dip in the brain’s neuro hormone serotonin, according to research by Luca Passamonti at  Cambridge University and reported in Biological Psychiatry Journal.

Marjorie Nolan, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association says, “When [blood sugar] is low, the hypothalamus is triggered and levels of several hormones such as growth hormone, leptin and ghrelin are affected.  This imbalance then causes a shift in neurotransmitters and suppresses serotonin receptors.”

Serotonin is a hormone that helps regulate mood and appetite. Cut off your body’s ability to process it, and prepare for some mood swings. Anger and extreme frustration, Nolan says, are common responses.

“An organism, when it’s hungry, can ignore hunger signals if it wanted to, but it wouldn’t survive very long,” says Paul J. Currie PhD, a Professor of Psychology at Reed College, Portland Oregon. “But if, in addition to those growling stomach pains, there was also a mind aspect — increasing emotionality, anxiety and stress — then those signals will be more likely to get the organism’s attention.”

Dr Currie says one hormone called ghrelin is the main culprit. “When we’re hungry, there’s an increased release of ghrelin from the stomach, which increases our motivation to consume food. Elevated levels of ghrelin might also activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, otherwise known as the stress axis.”

Ghrelin receptors are also present in the hypothalamus. The more this hormone circulates, the more churned up the brain gets. “Animal studies show that direct ghrelin injections into the hypothalamus increase anxiety-like behavior, suggesting there’s overlapping brain circuits mediating food intake and emotional behavior,” said Dr Currie.

“‘Anger’ as a result of hunger is in part, personality based,’ says Marjorie Nolan  “If you are someone who is more prone to feeling frustrated or ‘moody’ to other life situations you are more likely to have this reaction when hungry.” 

Anger as a result of hunger is also a learned response. It becomes something we do because we are hungry, not necessarily because of the influence of brain chemicals.

Using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and the Emotional Alignment Technique (EAT) with hypnotherapy methods Peter Zapfella assists sufferers to overcome anger related to hunger.