A person’s mental state can have a direct impact on their body. In some people, psychological issues can result in growth problems.
There are two main types of disorders that can affect growth:
Emotional neglect can occur when a child is not given the emotional support that they need.
Emotional neglect can damage a child’s emotional health and development. Symptoms can include feelings of insecurity and sadness, as well as poor motor development and bedwetting. There may also be a reduced appetite as a result of feelings of anxiety and stomach pains after eating, resulting in a low intake of food which, in certain cases, can lead to poor growth.
Emotional neglect is not always intentional, for example the parents may be busy taking care of another child or they may not be well themselves (e.g. depression or addiction).
But whatever the cause, children who experience emotional neglect will need both emotional and physical support to improve their overall health and help them to develop.
Eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia
People with anorexia nervosa (also called anorexia) and bulimia feel that they are too fat (even when they are not) and use extreme methods to keep their weight down. They can become obsessed with their weight and either deliberately starve themselves (anorexia) or binge eat and then purge using laxatives or making themselves sick (bulimia). The two conditions often occur together.
As a result of these extreme eating habits, the body will not have enough energy to grow properly. The hormones will also be affected, resulting in reduced growth, and also in some cases delayed puberty.