If your allergies are getting you down, know that you’re not alone. There is ample research to show that people with chronic allergies experience greater levels of depression and fatigue.
Allergies Increase Depression, Decrease Quality of Life
Several studies have examined the connection between allergies or allergy symptoms and mood disorders.
- A study published in 2019 found that rhinitis increased the odds of developing depression by 42%
- Allergic rhinitis impacts the quality of life of children. Allergies were connected to poor sleep, daytime fatigue, increased absenteeism, and decreased social interaction.
- Rates of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and even suicide risk are higher in patients with allergic rhinitis compared to the general population.
Psychological Stress Can Worsen Allergic Symptoms
It seems the relationship between allergies and mental health is a two-way street. A study published in 2014 found that people who experience chronic psychological stress had:
- Stronger postnasal discharge
- Thicker discharge
- Worse cough
- Disturbed sleep
Why This Happens
Though the connection is not entirely understood, there are several possible explanations as to why allergies and mental health are linked.
Physical Symptoms Take Mental Toll
Dealing with constant congestion, runny nose and itchy eyes can lead to feelings of frustration and depression. They can prevent you from engaging in fun activities like hikes through Huntsville State Park.
Allergy symptoms can also disrupt your sleep. This can lead to worsening fatigue and negatively impact your mental health.
Allergies cause inflammation in the body. Some believe it’s possible that chronic inflammation from allergies is partially responsible for increased rates of depression and anxiety.
It is possible that your allergy medication could be worsening your mood. Corticosteroids that are injected or inhaled have been associated with manic and depressive episodes. The same has not been found of topical corticosteroids.
How to Prevent Allergies from Affecting Your Mental Health
Mental health is crucial to your overall wellbeing. Thankfully there are steps you can take if you feel like your allergies are worsening depression, anxiety or fatigue:
- Avoid your triggers when possible.
- Practice stress management techniques, like deep breathing or meditation.
- Talk to your doctor about changing your medication.
- See an allergist. Allergists can properly identify your triggers via allergy testing, which can help you avoid them. They also may prescribe medications or immunotherapy to treat your allergies.
- Speak with a mental health professional.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an allergy expert, contact Texas ENT & Allergy today.