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The Relationship Between Allergies and Anxiety

calm May 27, 2020

by Henry Emmons, MD

 

Recent research has shown a correlation between children and adults who have allergies/asthma and also have anxiety disorders. It’s not known if one problem causes the other, or if perhaps they have a similar underlying cause, or if perhaps simply not feeling well adds to one’s stress level. 

Allergies, Anxiety, and Inflammation

In my clinical practice, I have observed this relationship for a long time. I can’t explain it either, but I do have some theories. What I notice is that when the body over-reacts to things (in this case, one over-reacts to an “allergen” like pollen, dust or pets), the mind is often over-reactive as well. It fits with my belief that mind and body are not really separate things, just different facets of the whole. As to what causes this correlation, I think inflammation is a likely culprit. After all, if the body has inflammation, so does the brain, and recent theories suggest that inflammation may be a common cause of depression and anxiety. Whichever comes first, I think that the antidote is to calm the system, to add stabilizing measures so that there is less reactivity to any underlying trigger.

Further Reading on Allergies and Anxiety

The Reason Anxious People Often Have Allergies by Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

Allergic Diseases and Internalizing Behaviors in Early Childhood Pediatrics. Nanda, M. et al. (2016). Pediatrics.


 

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