Hunger (motivational state

Hunger is a feeling experienced when one has a desire to eat. Satiety is the absence of hunger. The often unpleasant feeling of hunger originates from the hypothalamus releasing hormones that target receptors in the liver. Although an average nourished individual can survive weeks without food intake,[1] the sensation of hunger typically begins after a couple of hours without eating and is generally considered quite uncomfortable. The sensation of hunger can often be alleviated and even mitigated entirely with the consumption of food. Hunger is also the most commonly used term to describe the social condition of people who frequently experience, or live with the threat of experiencing, the physical sensation of hunger.

Hunger pangs
When hunger contractions start to occur in the stomach, they are informally referred to as hunger pangs. Hunger pangs usually do not begin until 12 to 24 hours after the last ingestion of food. A single hunger contraction lasts about 30 seconds, and pangs continue for around 30–45 minutes, then hunger subsides for around 30–150 minutes.[2] Individual contractions are separated at first, but are almost continuous after a certain amount of time.[2] Emotional states (anger, joy etc.) may inhibit hunger contractions.[2] Levels of hunger are increased by lower blood sugar levels, and are higher in diabetics. [2] They reach their greatest intensity in 3 to 4 days and may weaken in the succeeding days, though hunger never disappears.[3] Hunger contractions are most intense in young, healthy people who have high degrees of gastrointestinal tonus. Periods between contractions increase with old age.[2]

Biological mechanisms
The fluctuation of leptin and ghrelin hormone levels results in the motivation of an organism to consume food. When an organism eats, adipocytes trigger the release of leptin into the body. Increasing levels of leptin results in a reduction of one's motivation to eat.[4] After hours of non-consumption, leptin levels drop significantly. These low levels of leptin cause the release of secondary hormone, ghrelin, which in turn reinitiates the feeling of hunger. Some studies have suggested that an increased production of ghrelin may enhance appetite evoked by the sight of food, while an increase in stress may also influence the hormone's production.[5] These findings may help to explain why hunger can prevail even in stressful situations.

Behavioral response
Hunger appears to increase activity and movement in many animals - for example, an experiment on spiders showed increased activity and predation in starved spiders, resulting in larger weight gain.[6] This pattern is seen in many animals, including humans while sleeping.[7] It even occurs in rats with their cerebral cortex or stomachs completely

removed.[8] Increased activity on hamster wheels occurred when rats were deprived not only of food, but also water or B vitamins such as thiamine.[9] This response may increase the animal's chance of finding food, though it has also been speculated the reaction relieves pressure on the home population.[7]

Thirst is the craving for fluids, resulting in the basic instinct of animals to drink. It is an essential mechanism involved in fluid balance. It arises from a lack of fluids and/or an increase in the concentration of certain osmolites such as salt. If the water volume of the body falls below a certain threshold, or the osmolite concentration becomes too high, the brain signals thirst. Continuous dehydration can cause myriad problems, but is most often associated with neurological problems such as seizures, and renal problems. Excessive thirst, known as polydipsia, along with excessive urination, known as polyuria, may be an indication of diabetes. There are receptors and other systems in the body that detect a decreased volume or an increased osmolite concentration. They signal to the central nervous system, where central processing succeeds. Some sources[1] therefore distinguish "extracellular thirst" from "intracellular thirst", where extracellular thirst is thirst generated by decreased volume and intracellular thirst is thirst generated by increased osmolite concentration. Nevertheless, the craving itself is something generated from central processing in the brain, no matter how it is detected.

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