Allergy season is the worst, and this year has been a doozy. The congestion, the coughing, the itching eyes, and runny nose are enough to drive anyone crazy. However, the question remains, are your allergies actually linked to mood changes. On the surface it seems like a silly question. Of course prolonged discomfort and irritation would negatively affect your mood, but the truth is that research shows it could be much deeper than that.
Are Allergies Linked to Your Mood? Allergy-Linked Depression
Studies have demonstrated that there is about a 50% increase in the risk of depression among those who suffer from allergies. If your allergies are so severe that you’ve visited an allergist, then the data suggests that you are three times more likely to develop depression than someone who does not suffer from allergies. This information led researchers to question whether the increased rates were simply a side effect of discomfort or if there was a more direct biological connection.
In regard to the type of depression experienced by allergy sufferers, researchers did suggest that clinical depression showed almost no correlation. The depression tracked among allergy sufferers was characterized by mild depressive symptoms. This matches the side-effects of some anti-inflammatories used to combat allergic responses. Lethargy, fatigue, and general sadness often appeared amongst these patients. So a group of scientists decided to see if they could parse out whether allergies linked to your mood independently of medication.
A Closer Look at Allergic Responses
To better understand the possible link between negative mood changes and allergic reactions, researchers took a closer look at cytokines. Cytokines are naturally released by the body during an allergic reaction. They’re an important component to the body’s immune response because they enable communication between cells. Unfortunately, they can also leave you feeling awful.
The release of cytokines can cause you to feel sick and mentally drained. This is why you may struggle to focus or stay awake in the midst of allergy season. In fact, a case study focused on those who have an allergic reaction to ragweed. It showed that some patients demonstrate dramatic mood changes from allergic responses and extreme fatigue.
Taking it a step further, statistical researchers tracked suicide data. The results showed a strong correlation between allergy season and the highest annual rates of suicide. Of course, a lot more research will have to be done to take that correlation forward. But it makes for an interesting start.
Regardless of how closely negative mood changes and allergies are tied, it is always important to treat your symptoms for your own comfort and happiness. If you haven’t already had allergy treatment in NYC, then you have nothing to worry about. The process is fairly easy and helps to pave the way towards more comfortable allergy seasons for the rest of your life.
In most cases, your first visit to the allergy institute in New York will simply consist of a consultation. To smooth the process, you may want to write down a few notes to help characterize when and where your allergies are the most obnoxious. From there, your allergy doctor may suggest a scratch test if the cause isn’t obvious.
A scratch test uses a simple grid. This can test a relatively large group of allergens on your skin at the same time. Also, we use your description of your symptoms. Then your doctor will be able to choose the most likely candidates and test them for clarity. Then your allergy doctor can identify the cause of your allergies. After that, you can start to put together a treatment plan designed specifically to treat your allergies.