Relationships are never easy to begin with, but adding in the stress and complications that food allergies can bring only makes matters worse.

When parents, children, siblings, spouses, or close friends suffer from food allergies, it can take a toll on everyone else as they attempt to accommodate.

Studies of caregivers, including a review in 2011 by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and one in 2010 by Dr. Ruchi Gupta at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, have found that patients and parents can see profound impacts on their relationships when food allergies are in the mix.

The constant vigilance of the caregiver and sufferer to keep the allergen at bay can become stressful and strain relationships. The stress can manifest as arguments, disassociation, or even separation and divorce.

Coping with the stresses is rarely easy. Most find solace by finding others who deal with similar issues in their lives while others turn to expanded family networks to find help. As with any ailment not immediately, visibly evident, it’s nice not to have to explain yourself to people because they are already in the know. The isolation created by these stresses and socially awkward situations is countered by expanding familial and friendship networks rather than shrinking them, experts say.

Communication remains most important, though.

For more on this subject, see Allergic Living’s article on marriages and food allergies.

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