Some doctors say allergies may increase chances for anxiety, depression

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Children who have seasonal allergies at a young age are more likely to have anxiety and depression than other children, according to a new study published in Pediatrics.

Researchers also say the more seasonal allergies a child has, the higher the score they had for “internalizing behavior”.

“Internalizing behavior” includes symptoms of anxiety and depression, and they develop when a person keeps issues to themselves.

Dr. Maya Nanda of Children’s Mercy Hospital helped lead the study.

Around 600 children were part of the research, which tested the children between the ages of one and seven years old.

Dr. Nanda says the cause of the link between allergies and internalizing behavior is still officially unknown, but other studies have shed light on what could possibly be the reason.

According to Canada Today, the children may develop “internalizing behavior” due to a chemical reaction from the allergies that impacts areas of the brain that affect moods.

The link could also be from children changing their behavior as a result of often being sick with allergies.

Dr. Nanda said the study is still going on and the children with allergies will continue to be monitored.

“I want to see at age 12 if the association persists,” she explained. “I also want to see how treatment affects anxiety and depression."

Symptoms of hay fever, the most common form of allergy and the one found in the link with depression and anxiety, include sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and a runny nose.

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Tom Dempsey can be reached at tom.dempsey@kshb.com.

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