Can Allergies Trigger Anxiety?
Last updated: April 2023
I've struggled with anxiety most of my life and continue to. In this day and age, anxiety has become a sort of pandemic of its own, as many people suffer from it to some extent.
Developing new allergies
At 24 years old, when I started topical steroid withdrawal, I also developed several new allergies. At the point of developing new allergies, I was already in therapy for many years and on psychiatric medication.
The problem was that despite the medication and therapy, my anxiety increased while I developed more allergies. This may have been largely due to having an additional health concern to deal with and manage. On the other hand, there have been some studies that show there is indeed a link between anxiety and receiving allergy treatment.1
What is causing anxiety?
It's scary enough experiencing an anaphylactic reaction. Then, there's the fear of experiencing a severe allergic reaction in the future. I believe fearing a severe allergic reaction is a valid link to anxiety and PTSD. When we deal with other chronic health conditions, the stress can pile up and compound.
So, it's challenging to determine what is causing anxiety when there is so much going on. Is it just "regular" anxiety? Is it from allergies? Maybe something else is causing stress altogether? We must hone our intuition skills and learn to listen to our bodies. This has been a big learning curve on my journey.
Constant fear of another allergic reaction
After I experienced my first anaphylactic reaction, I was terrified it would happen again. I started researching everything possible about my triggers, EpiPens, reading food labels, etc. I wanted to ensure that it would never happen to me again.
I ensured I had my EpiPen in my purse before leaving my house. I was terrified to go anywhere without it. As someone who struggles with borderline agoraphobia, anaphylaxis just added to my anxiety about going out. I have to be prepared at all times.
There's never a break from allergies
When we deal with allergies and other chronic health conditions, most people don't understand that we have to consider our allergies and triggers at all times. That's in the forefront of our minds, no matter how much we wish it didn't have to be.
Allergies affect every area of our life, from going to social events, grocery shopping, going to work, dining out, the kinds of friendships and relationships we have, etc. It is incredibly daunting to have so many things going on in our minds, and it's no surprise that it can cause additional anxiety.
Many health conditions are a culprit of anxiety
Anxiety has been a huge struggle throughout my life and still is. It is the one aspect of health I have a tough time controlling. Over the years, it has gotten easier, thankfully. I no longer suffer from debilitating panic attacks like I used to. But I still deal with anxiety daily.
Having to deal with multiple allergies, skin conditions, and other health issues tends to be the leading cause of my anxiety. When my body is in a calmer state and not reacting to something, my mind is clearer, and I am more at peace. The same applies vice versa – when my mind and emotional state are calmer, so is my body.
We have come a long way in understanding chronic health conditions. However, I believe we still have a long way to go. We tend to forget, especially in western medicine, that our body is an interconnected system with the mind, not compiled of siloed "parts." Our body and mind are interconnected.
How often do you connect with others who have food allergies?