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Do Allergies Increase the Risk for Mental Health Disorders in Children? New Study Says Yes!

Researchers who performed a recent study on allergies and mental health disorders in children saw some surprising results. Although direct causation between the two factors can not be scientifically proven by concrete evidence the findings confirm what many medical professionals have long suspected. Children who have allergies at younger ages are typically more likely to experience mental health disorders like anxiety and depression than children who do not suffer from allergies. The researchers also determined that as the allergies increased the child had higher scores for internalizing behavior. These internalizing behaviors can contribute to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. According to Children’s Mercy Hospital Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology Division researcher and lead study author Dr. Maya K. Nanda “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.”

The new study results on allergies and mental health disorders could provide earlier monitoring and treatment for these conditions. According to Dr. Nanda “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. We think this study calls for better screening by pediatricians, allergists, and parents of children with allergic disease. Too often in my clinic I see allergic children with clinical anxiety (or) depressive symptoms; however, they are receiving no care for these conditions. We don’t know how treatment for allergic diseases may effect or change the risk for internalizing disorders and we hope to study this in the future.”

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