Seasonal allergies have a definite impact on mood, often increasing the risk of depression, states research.
Dr. Paul Marshall, neuropsychologist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota comments that a visit to an allergist could actually mean the likelihood of depression affecting a person.
Although allergies do not cause clinical depression, they cause mood changes that result in the physiological symptoms of mild depression, leading to overall feelings of sadness, lethargy, and fatigue. And those who already suffer from depression, their symptoms worsen with the allergy.
An allergic reaction brings about the release of cytokines in the body that brings on the feeling of being ill and 'mentally drained.' Earlier studies, led by Marshall, had proved that allergies triggered off by pollen caused fatigue and mood changes and slowed down cognitive processing.
Dr. Teodor Postolache at the University of Maryland, in his study, established the link between tree pollen allergy, depression and suicide, and this occurred more in women than in men.
Other research concludes that low moods could be circumstantial, caused by the sneezing or sleeplessness or even by the medication taken for the allergy. And although these factors could lead to depression, they are not its direct cause.
Antihistamines and decongestants do affect sleep and put more stress on the heart. This brings about fatigue and irritability and affects the work performance and children's behavior patterns.
According to Dr. Michael Silverman, assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, people shouldn't blame their allergies for deeper emotional issues. Allergies only aggravate an already-existing situation.
Although intranasal steroids and topical antihistamines for the nose seem to give some relief and don't cause drowsiness, the only way to get long lasting results is to undergo desensitization through "allergy shots." After identifying what specific plants affect the patient, a doctor would administer small doses of its pollen to the patient over a period of three to five years.
The effects of the treatment could last for another three to five years and some people may emerge allergy-free for life; but others may get relief only for a year or two.
Desensitization is the only way right now to prevent the formation of other allergies and also deal with the risk of allergy-associated asthma.