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A New Study Finds Links Between Food Allergy And Anxiety

If you thought that your anxiety has nothing to do with anything else, you’re mistaken.

Every time the season turns, or if there is an extra rush of pollen in the air, allergies kick in. While these seasonal allergies can be an annoyance and an inconvenience, those who live with allergies 24x7 know how hard it is to have a normal existence under the shadow and fear of allergens.  

Till now, very little was known about how these allergies impacted mental health. However, a recent study has gone out on a limb to link food allergies to a higher incidence of anxiety, especially in children. What is this research based on, and how accurate are the findings? The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, is linking the 2, and has adequate data to support its thesis. According to the findings of the study that was carried out by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, almost 8 per cent of children in the United States suffer from allergies of some kind, and the numbers seem to be growing.  

The experiment

A control group of almost 80 children, between the ages of 4 and 12, was studied in New York and it was found that those who have asthma or food allergies of any sort were more prone to be anxious than those who did not test positive for allergies. The study also noted that almost 57 per cent of the children suffering from food allergies were anxious, and 48 per cent showed symptoms of depression.  

The result

It is important to note that the group of children studied belonged to a minority group, and were from the lower socio-economic strata. The researchers believe that since it is overly challenging to take care of children with allergies and a lot more expensive (they can only eat some things), the result is anxiety on both the caregiver’s and the child’s part. It seemed quite apparent that children with allergies find it difficult to fit in, and as a result, often feel anxious. There is a real fear of social rejection and humiliation among this group of children. Proper management of the allergy would, of course, help combat the mental issues at hand.  

What next?

Experts believe that the data thrown up by this study is worth looking at. They are also of the opinion that there is very little awareness about food allergies in children and hence, very few people are able to help make their environment comfortable. Now that a link has been established between allergies and mental health, experts believe that early interventions will be possible, and this could help alleviate anxiety among young children, in the long run.

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