Allergies and anxiety are often experienced together, yet there is no scientific evidence that either condition causes the other. The enduring tie between anxiety and allergies seems to be one of influence. The effects of one condition can intensify symptoms of the other condition.
Children, for instance, might experience social unease because of their allergy. The continual social distress could, over time, lead to chronic anxiety. We also know that anxiety alters hormone levels, and hormone fluctuations can exacerbate allergy symptoms.
When anxiety dampens the immune system, the likelihood of allergy incidence goes up, and the length of allergic reactions increases with elevated stress.
Allergies can increase anxiety levels as well. Having an allergy is physically stressful which invites anxiety, and managing allergies generates mental and emotional strain. Those with severe allergic reactions may worry daily about accidental contact with an allergen, and this worry can morph into chronic anxiety. It is also possible that some allergies alter blood flow to the brain, worsening anxiety symptoms.
Sometimes there is an apparent connection between an allergy and specific types of anxiety, such as social anxiety or panic attacks.
- If a person’s allergy causes hyperventilation, the hyperventilation might at some point trigger panic attacks.
- Social anxiety is more common in people with severe or extensive allergies that may cause embarrassing situations, creating insecurity around new people or in public places.
Although the push and pull between anxiety and allergies are plentiful, they likely affect each other in mild ways that are unique to each individual. However, to someone with both allergies and anxiety, the effects of their push and pull may feel intense.
Conditions such as allergies and anxiety may show up in pairs, but they remain distinct diagnoses with their own set of symptoms. For now, they are typically addressed and treated as separate conditions.
Talk to your doctor or an allergy specialist about your allergy. Should it turn out that it is caused by anxiety, the doctor will work with that to eliminate or manage your allergy symptoms.
Talk to your physician or a mental health professional about your anxiety. Even if allergies are involved, anxiety is a result of how we think about the events in our lives, so our thinking and coping skills need to be assessed and addressed. If the anxiety is primarily owed to the dangers of having a severe allergy, learning a variety of relaxation techniques and anxiety coping strategies will help.