Research has shown that having allergies can cause higher rates of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and possibly even an increased risk of suicide. Let’s examine why allergies can affect your mood, as well as solutions to help improve your mental health.
Allergy Symptoms Take a Toll on Mental Health
Allergies can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes and throat
- Watery eyes
- Postnasal drip
Living with chronic allergies may mean feeling unwell most days of the week for months on end. When you don’t feel your best physically, your mental health can suffer.
There is also some evidence to suggest that psychological stress worsens allergy symptoms. A study published in 2014 found that people who experience chronic psychological stress had:
- Stronger postnasal discharge
- Thicker discharge
- Worse cough
- Disturbed sleep
This can create a vicious cycle where worsening mental health and allergy symptoms exacerbate one another.
Allergies Can Cause Sleep Problems
It can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep when you wake up every few hours to a coughing or sneezing fit. Some people also experience worse allergy symptoms at night due to:
- Dust mites in bedding
- Pollen from an open window
- Letting your pet sleep in bed with you
Regular sleep disturbances can increase feelings of fatigue, depression and anxiety.
Medications Making Mood Worse
Your allergy medication could be worsening your mood. Corticosteroids that are injected or inhaled have been associated with manic and depressive episodes. The same has not been found of topical corticosteroids.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
If you feel depressed or anxious, take steps to prioritize your mental health. This could include:
- Speaking with a therapist
- Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and medication
- Talking with your doctor about antidepressants or anxiety medications
Manage Your Allergy Symptoms
Finding ways to alleviate your symptoms could also improve your mood. This may include:
- Changing medications if the one you are currently taking worsens your depression or anxiety.
- Avoiding your allergy triggers or taking an antihistamine when you’re planning a hike through Ashbridge Preserve.
- Visiting an allergist. They can use allergy testing to pinpoint your triggers and recommend treatment options.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, contact Pinnacle ENT today.