Allergies may boost chances of anxiety symptoms

Posted on December 31, 2015

Kids who have allergies at an early age are more likely than others to also have problems with anxiety and depression, according to a new study.

As the number of allergies increase, so do internalizing behavior scores, the researchers found.

Internalizing behaviors include disorders, like anxiety or depression, that develop when people keep their problems to themselves, or “internalize” them.

“I think the surprising finding for us was that allergic rhinitis has the strongest association with abnormal anxiety/depression/internalizing scores compared to other allergic diseases,” said lead author Dr. Maya K. Nanda of the division of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

The researchers studied 546 children who had skin tests and exams at age one, two, three, four and seven and whose parents completed behavioral assessments at age seven. They looked for signs of sneezing and itchy eyes, wheezing or skin inflammation related to allergies.

Parents answered 160 questions about their child’s behaviors and emotions, including how often they seemed worried, nervous, fearful, or sad.

Kids who had allergic sneezing and itchy or watery eyes or persistent wheezing at age four tended to have higher depressive or anxiety scores than others at age seven, the researchers reported in Pediatrics.

Anxiety and depression scores increased as the number of allergies increased.

“This study can’t prove causation. It only describes a significant association between these disorders, however we have hypotheses on why these diseases are associated,” Nanda told Reuters Health by email.

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Source material from Free Malaysia Today

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