Kids with Allergies at Higher Risk of Anxiety, Depression
Kids who have allergies are more likely to have problems with anxiety and depression, concludes a new study conducted at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
The scientists 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. Anxiety and depression scores increased as the number of allergies increased.
The study did not show a cause and effect relationship between allergies and emotional issues, but previous research has suggested that allergy antibodies may trigger production of other substances that affect parts of the brain controlling emotions. Another theory is that children with allergies may be more likely to internalize their emotions, leadng to more anxiety or depression.
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