Allergy sufferers may be at greater risk for depression

Allergy sufferers may be at greater risk for depression (Image 1)

For most allergy sufferers, beautiful buds and trees brimming with greenery usually mean one thing.

“A lot of sneezing, a lot of coughing, a lot of visits to the doctors,” said Beth Goates, who is visiting Nashville from Florida.

The dramatic swing in temperatures this spring, isn't helping.

“This roller coaster of temperatures can definitely aggravate things for people and make it even that much more difficult to handle,” Dr. John Fahrenholz, with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told Nashville's News 2.

Goates, who deals with allergies every season, said, “You do slow down, it does cause you to stop. I guess you could get a little irritable.”

In some people the typical allergy annoyances can be more serious.

Mood swings, fatigue, feeling sad, those can be characterized as symptoms of mild depression.

While having allergies doesn't cause depression, some experts believe people with severe allergies are at double the risk of being diagnosed with the condition.

“Somebody that had a tendency toward depression and a diagnosis of depression, adding that diminished quality-of-life could have a negative interaction with those types of symptoms,” explained Dr. Fahrenholz.

“You get all that pressure buildup in there so I would say yeah, I can see where some might, I can see where that might be a possibility,” added Goates.

Dr. Fahrenholz said there's no definite correlation between allergy sufferers and depression.

Some some studies have shown allergic reactions cause inflammation and reduce our serotonin levels, and serotonin is what helps us feel good.

“If that is bothering you enough to really be affecting the quality of life and I'm starting to think 'Gosh, I'm getting down and depressed about this', absolutely you should see your doctor,” Dr. Fahrenholz told Nashville's News 2.

There is also good news, Dr. Fahrenholz doesn't believe this spring allergy season will be as bad as last year.

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