Are Allergies Connected To Anxiety And Depression?

Researchers from Germany and Switzerland have lately investigated the likely connections between circumstances linked to mental health, for example depression, anxiety, and the presence of various types of allergy. Their results, they say, should make scientists to give more attention to these connections.

According to the information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the [United States],” resulting in healthcare expenses in excess of $18 billion every year.

Furthermore, the CC record that more than 50 million individuals in USA suffer from an allergy. All over Europe, approximately 150 million people suffer from an allergy, in the opinion of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Presently, researchers the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany have joined with investigators from other German and Swiss institutions to find out about this link further. The team selected 1782 members and decided to look if there were any connections between mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and various types of allergy.

The study members varied between ages of 39 and 88 years, 61 years being the average age and they all resided in the Augsburg area of Germany.

For their research, the results are published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, the researchers only included cases of self-reported type 1 allergies.

These are allergies that can create a quick reaction following vulnerability to the allergen, and they can show outcomes in symptoms of varying danger. They vary from eczema and hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis.

Seasonal allergies restrained to anxiety

In the research, the investigators distinguished between members according to their kind of allergy (or lack thereof) breaking them into four different groups:

  • allergy-free
  • with seasonal allergies, such as those relating to pollen
  • with perennial (year-long) allergies, such as allergies to animal hair
  • with other allergies, including allergies to foods and insect stings

From the whole group, 27.4% of the individuals demonstrated having an allergy. More particularly, 7.7% of participants stated that they faced a perennial allergy, 6.1% claimed they had a seasonal allergy, and 13.6% reported experiencing another type of allergy.

After interviewing the participants with further questions about their mental health – highlighting on markers of depression, normalized anxiety disorders, and stress – the researched ended by stating that individuals who stayed with generalized anxiety also inclined to have seasonal allergies.

This connection was not evident in people with perennial allergies. Though, the study visualized that people with year-long allergies were expected to have depression instead.

It is unknown still as to why there is a positive link between anxiety and seasonal allergies but not between this mental health issue and perennial allergies. The researchers are also uncertain why the latter is more often connected to depression.

Study constraints and goals for the future

While the study did include particularly changing factors like age, biological sex, smoking status, and the existence of any hereditary predispositions to allergic reactions, the researchers got to know that the group may not have been part of the diverse age groups.

“We have a considerably high average age of 61 years, so younger people are quite unnoticed here,” records first author Katharina Harter, who works at TUM.

“The findings are also collected on personal reports instead of real allergy diagnoses,” Harter continues. “But, we have blood samples from all participants and decide to scientifically prove this point.”

Regardless of these limitations, the study authors concentrate that their findings finally verify that there is some type of association between seasonal allergies and the encounter of anxiety and that doctors should pay more consideration to their patients when they talk about such associations.