Allergies, anxiety, and increased symptoms
Anxiety and increased allergies
Indications of allergy problems associated with anxiety:
- You notice that as your anxiety and stress increase, you are experiencing an increase in allergy symptoms and their frequency.
- You might also notice that your allergy symptoms are much more severe and persistent when your stress and anxiety are elevated.
- You are finding there is a connection between the level of your anxiety and/or stress and your allergies, allergy symptoms, and allergic reaction episodes.
- You might also notice that your allergic reactions take longer to subside than normal.
- You might also notice that you have new allergic sensitivities when your stress and anxiety are elevated.
allergy problems might come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may have episodes of allergy problems and flare ups once in a while and not that often, have them off and on, or have allergy problems it all the time.
Anxiety allergy problems may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by themselves.
Anxiety allergy problems can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.
Anxiety allergy problems can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. They can also come in waves, where they are strong one moment and ease off the next.
Anxiety allergy problems can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.
All variations and combinations of the above are common.
Can anxiety increase allergies, allergic reactions, and allergy symptoms?
Yes, research has shown that stress can increase allergy, allergies, and allergic sensitivities; the length of time allergy, allergies, and allergic reactions persist; and can increase the severity and frequency of allergy, allergies, and allergic reaction symptoms.
Anxiety can also play a role since behaving in an anxious manner activates the stress responses, and stress responses stress the body. This is why it's common for anxious people to experience an increase in allergic reactions, sensitivities, and symptoms when dealing with problematic anxiety.
Can allergies cause anxiety?
No. The physiological, psychological, and emotional state of anxiety is created when we behave apprehensively, such as worrying, fretting, being nervous, or fearing the worst. We choose the behaviors we use, therefore, nothing forces us to choose apprehensive behavior, including allergies.
However, because more severe forms of allergies can have serious health consequences, you can choose to worry about your allergies, allergy symptoms, and allergic reaction, which does cause the physiological, psychological, and emotional state of anxiety, since worry is an example of apprehensive behavior.
Can we become anxious about allergies?
Yes, as we can become anxious about anything we believe could cause us harm. But being anxious about something is different than something causing anxiety.
What is the best way to alleviate anxiety about allergies and allergic reactions?
Two of the most effective ways to counteract anxiety associated with worrying about allergies and allergic reactions:
1. Have an emergency action plan. Planning for an emergency ahead of time eliminates having to sort it out in the midst of an allergy attack or allergic reaction. Having quick and easy access to your medication, having numbers to call in case of an emergency, and knowing routes to the nearest hospital can eliminate unnecessary worry and problems if your allergies are severe.
Also, discussing your emergency plan with your doctor can prove helpful, too.
2. Addressing your fears and anxiety issues. Being calm in the midst of an emergency has great value. You can learn healthy ways of dealing with allergies from an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor. Working with an experienced anxiety therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address your anxiety issues, and especially those associated with allergies.
How to eliminate an increase in allergy related symptoms and problems that are caused by stress and anxiety?
When anxiety and stress are causing an increase in allergy problems, addressing your anxious behaviors and reducing your body's stress will reduce stress’s impact on allergies, allergy problems, and allergy sensitivities.
There are many ways to reduce stress, such as:
- Regular deep relaxation
- Doing things you love
- Delegating responsibilities
- Setting realistic expectations
- Regular light to moderate exercise
- Spending more time outdoors in nature
- Getting good sleep
To name a few. Whatever you can do to reduce stress will aid in reducing allergy problems.
For more information about anxiety, the pitfalls of recovery, and how to overcome problematic anxiety for good, we have many chapters that address this in the Recovery Support area of our website.
1. Ohio State University. "Stress, Anxiety Can Make Allergy Attacks Even More Miserable And Last Longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2008. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080814154327.htm.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated January 1, 2019.