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Allergies May Cause Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Update Date: Dec 30, 2015 01:53 PM EST

According to a new study, kids who have allergies at an early age are much likelier to have symptoms of anxiety and depression. The researchers found that the increase in allergies also changed the internal behavior as well. Internalizing behaviors include issues such as depression or anxiety that develop when the people do not discuss their problems and internalize them by keeping it to themselves. "I think the surprising finding for us was that allergic rhinitis has the strongest association with abnormal anxiety/depression/internalizing scores compared to other allergic diseases," said lead author Dr. Maya K. Nanda of the division of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, according to Yahoo News.

Rhinitis, the most common form of allergy, also known as hay fever causes sneezing, itchy and watery eyes and runny nose. The researchers studied more than 500 children who had skin tests at ages one, two, three, four and seven and whose parents completed their behavioral assessment at age seven. They looked for allergy related signs such as itchy eyes, skin inflammation, wheezing or sneezing. Parents answered 160 questions about their child's behavior and emotions that included how often they appeared sad, fearful, worried or nervous. Kids who had high levels of sneezing and itchy or watery eyes with consistent wheezing at age four tended to have high chances of depression or anxiety than others at age seven, said the researchers in pediatrics journal. Scores of anxiety and depression noticed a spike as the allergies increased. "This study can't prove causation. It only describes a significant association between these disorders, however we have hypotheses on why these diseases are associated," Nanda told Reuters Health by email.

Children with allergic diseases are more susceptible to risk of abnormal internalizing conditions due to their behavior modification as a response to allergies or their primary biological mechanism, reported Canada Today.

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