Can Allergies Cause Depression And Anxiety


Asked by george

Can Allergies Cause Depression And Anxiety

I have been treated for depression and anxiety for 4 years now.And I finally found a doctor who is looking for a medical.Because I don't respond to treatment with psych meds .He thinks there might be a medical reason for this.Such as allergies can allergies cause depression or anxiety.I tend to be worse in the spring and summer.


Hi George,

There is not a direct link between the mechanism of allergic disorders, and depression or anxiety. People that have chronic and/or severe allergic problems may sometimes get depressed or anxious because of the poor quality of life associated with protracted or serious illness. Any severe illness may aggravate depression and anxiety in a susceptible individual. Because allergic problems are so common, other disorders may sometimes appear to be caused by them when they occur together.

For many years I've had referrals from other doctors for work-up of migraine headaches and attention deficit disorder (ADD), thinking these illnesses were allergy based because of reports associating them with allergic food and environmental triggers. Research has shown this not to be so in both instances (migraine disorders and ADD have no direct relationship to allergy).

Anxiety and depression may be aggravated by stress and many other factors. Some of these factors are thought to be genetic. Allergy relief may be followed by improvement in these two illnesses when the stress is chiefly caused by symptoms associated with the allergic based problem.

Research on asthma and chronic allergic rhinitis has revealed that anxiety and stress may complicate treatment of these disorders. Medications and counseling specific to anxiety and/or depression may be required to fully manage a patient that has allergy problems in this setting.

I know, it sounds a lot like "chicken vs. the egg" argument. In more simple terms, allergic problems may occasionally be complicated by anxiety or depression. Aggressive treatment of the allergy problems may help to resolve the psychological ones (if the allergic symptoms were the major aggravators). Otherwise more medical assistance will be needed to directly address depression or anxiety.

J. Thompson, MD

Answered by James Thompson, M.D.