Measurement of appetite disturbances in psychiatric disorders

R. G. Robinson, P. R. McHugh, M. F. Folstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A visual analogue scale was used for the self rating of appetite in 18 normals and 32 psychiatric patients. Appetite scores were shown to correlate with quantity of food intake, to fluctuate in the expected manner in relation to meals, and at an hourly interval to be a reliable measurement in both the normal and patient populations. Patients, chosen for their clarity of diagnosis, marked appetite slips either once/day for several weeks or once/hr for 1 or more days. All diagnostic groups showed the same general pattern of appetite scores changing in relation to meals. However, quantitative differences were found among different diagnostic groups. Schizophrenic patients receiving high doses of chlorpromazine and manic patients had the highest appetite scores, schizophrenic patients receiving low doses of phenothiazines and patients with neurotic personality disorders had appetite scores which ranked in the middle while patients with an endogenous depression had the lowest rank appetite scores. both quantity of food intake and body weight change correlated with appetite scores. The elevation of appetite noted in schizophrenic patients receiving high doses of phenothiazines was thought to be an effect of the medication and to be mainly responsible for the marked weight gain. It was recommended that further research proceed along the lines of delineating central nervous system mechanisms involved in chlorpromazine induced hunger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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