• New research says that there might be a link between one’s psychological health and their seasonal or perennial (nonseasonal) allergies.
  • Study participants reported seasonal allergies like pollen, perennial allergies like house dust, and allergies to other substances like food and drugs.
  • Additionally, they answered questions related to their psychological health, specifically about their experiences with depression, anxiety, and stress.
  • The research team found that people with generalized anxiety suffered from pollen allergies more often, while year-round allergies were less frequent.
  • In addition, researchers found a link between depression and perennial allergies; however, it wasn’t clear whether depression raises one’s risk for developing perennial allergies or vice versa.

Quick Summary

A new study “Different Psychosocial Factors Are Associated with Seasonal and Perennial Allergies in Adults: Cross-Section-aI Results of the Kora FF4 Study,” published in International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, found a possible link between one’s psychological health and seasonal as well as perennial allergies. The team found that seasonal allergies are more common in people with anxiety, while perennial allergies are more common in people with depression.

Goals

Past research has shown that psychological health affects skin or allergic asthma. This current study, however, was interested in the possible connection between psychological health and other allergies, specifically seasonal, perennial, and food and drug allergies.

Investigation

Researchers conducted interviews with over 1,700 people in Augsburg, Germany. These participants answered questions about their allergies. More specifically, they reported seasonal allergies like pollen, perennial allergies (or nonseasonal allergies) like house dust or animal hair, and allergies to other substances like food and drugs. Additionally, they answered questions about their psychological health, specifically their experiences with depression, anxiety, and severe stress.

Results

The team saw that 27.4% of those interviewed reported suffering from allergies: 7.7% from perennial, 6.1% from seasonal, and 13.6% from allergies to other substances.

They found that people with generalized anxiety disorders suffered from pollen allergies more often, while year-round allergies were less frequent in these individuals. The team hypothesizes that people with persistent allergies develop different coping strategies to manage stress, which defend them against anxiety.

Additionally, the researchers saw a link between perennial allergies and depression. However, it wasn’t clear whether perennial allergies increase susceptibility to depression or if, contrarily, depression increases one’s risk for allergies. Finally, surprisingly, there was no link between psychological factors and food or drug allergies.

Implications

The researchers plan to back up their findings from these self-reports by testing a blood sample from each participant. They say the biggest takeaway from their study right now is the importance of individualized care for patients, which considers different factors in one’s health like their allergies and psychosocial factors.

Limitations

  • To the researchers’ own admission, young people are underrepresented, as the average age of participants is 61 years.
  • Additionally, these results are based on self-reported allergies and psychological health rather than official diagnoses.

Sources:

Technical University of Munich (TUM). (2019, May 28). Pollen allergies occur more frequently in anxiety sufferers: Interplay between psychological factors and allergies in the research spotlight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 7, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190528120450.htm

Technical University of Munich (TUM). (2019, May 28). Pollen allergies occur more frequently in anxiety sufferers: Interplay between psychological factors and allergies in the research spotlight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 7, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190528120450.htm

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