Allergies and Depression

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Allergies aren’t just an inconvenience – for some people such as those with peanut or shellfish sensitivities, they are life threatening. Moms of allergic kids know the essential routines of reading labels and Internet research on ingredients, scrupulous hand washing before preparing foods, the dangers of cross contamination.

“My allergies are driving me crazy!” Have you said that at one time or another? Or maybe, “Our child’s allergies are driving us all nuts!”  But that may be more true than you think.

For a long time scientists have noticed an association between allergies and major depression, and one study (link) actually documented that depression could lead to non-food allergies; but until recently there was little scientific evidence that it could work the other way around. Could allergies lead to depression? (That is, more than just frustration).

Nearly 200,000 people say yes, or at least the data seems to. There seems to be a documentable link between eczema, hay fever, and asthma to psychiatric illnesses, according to a study done in Taiwan over a fifteen year period. 

But one mom, Jessica Smartt, a blogger with a child with life-threatening allergies, recently wrote an article in about how to deal with this.

“What struck me the other day, as it often has, is how carefree my son is,” Smartt say, noting that eventually her son will take over his own allergy management. But for now, she says, “My son isn’t worried, because he knows I am. He doesn’t ask me a million times what I’m giving him, or where it came from, or, ‘Is it really safe for me to eat’? He sits down and enjoys, because he trusts that I have handled all that. (And I have.)”

Recently she realized that her Father, God, is similarly vigilant over her wellbeing, saying: “You can be like that, too, Jessica. I have this handled, and you can relax.” 

What do you think? Is it possible for a mom to pass onto her child a peace about allergies, based on a sense of God’s overall protection?

Since 1992, Dr. Robinson has worked in a variety counseling positions. She is also a popular author and speaker on topics ranging from childhood development and sexuality, teen issues, family dynamics including caring for elderly relatives, and church resources for families.

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