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Do Allergies Affect Your Mood or Energy Level?

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Updated September 13, 2011

Question: Do Allergies Affect Your Mood or Energy Level?
Answer: Absolutely. Many studies have shown that people with allergic rhinitis not only suffer from symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion and itchy eyes and nose, but they also suffer from non-nasal symptoms. Allergic rhinitis causes people to have decreased ability to concentrate at work or school, and also affects their energy level and sleeping habits.

In addition, allergies affect a person’s mood. In a study that surveyed 2,500 people with allergies, nearly one in four people felt embarrassed as a result of their allergy symptoms. More than a third of people felt depressed, and over half of the respondents felt irritable or miserable as a result of their symptoms. Surprisingly, 80% felt tired as a result of their allergy symptoms.

Why do allergies have such dramatic effects on a person’s mood and well-being? This isn’t completely understood, although it could be due to the distraction caused by allergy symptoms such as sneezing, congestion and a runny nose. Changes in a person’s mood and energy level could also be due to side effects from common allergy medications, such as antihistamines. Lastly, some researchers think that these behavioral changes may be caused by certain biochemical signals released from mast cells (and other immune cells in the body) that directly affect a person’s brain.

It makes sense, therefore, that the treatment of allergies should improve a person’s mood and energy level. Find out which medications are best for the treatment of allergies.

Sources:

Marshall PS, O’Hara C, Steinberg P. Effects of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis on Fatigue Levels and Mood. Psychosom Med. 2002;64(4):684-691.

Allergies in America: A Landmark Survey of Nasal Allergy Sufferers.

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