Allergies and Depression: The Surprising Connection

Allergies and Depression: The Surprising Connection. a woman

According to studies, people with allergic rhinitis not only suffer from the obvious indications like sneezing, nasal congestion and itchy eyes and nose. Non-nasal symptoms such as fatigue and depression as well can also worsen the effect.  With allergic rhinitis, it can be harder to concentrate your daily activities and can also affect your energy level, even your sleeping habits. These contribute to those “extranasal” symptoms, which, unfortunately, are more difficult to treat than the allergy itself.

In this article, we will take a look at those non-nasal symptoms that have been linked in some way to allergies. We will also tackle why these conditions can possibly be connected, and what you can do if your allergies are affecting you more.


According to Yes Wellness, fatigue is common among those with seasonal allergies. In fact, tiredness that occurs at daytime, which happens less often, appears to be more common than other nasal symptoms. In one study, 60 percent of allergic people were recorded being fatigued, and 80 percent of people claimed having feelings of tiredness due to allergic symptoms.


In another study, more than one-third of allergic people with allergies felt depressed, while over half of the participants felt irritable or miserable as a result of their symptoms. Other studies have discovered that the occurrence of clinical depression is twice as common on those who have allergies.

The question of “who came first” has been a discussion regarding this matter. Is it the nasal symptoms which can be a source of embarrassment can be the cause of your weird mood, or is it this mood that makes allergies more obvious? With the discovery that psychological disturbances can be another effect of allergies, it has also been acknowledged that chronic stress because of depression and anxiety can intensify the risk that someone will develop and suffer from allergies.

Allergies and Depression: The Surprising Connection. a woman with an allergy

Another matter is that the allergic phenomena could be responsible for both the nasal allergy symptoms and problems in mood. Our immune cells produce chemicals known as cytokines whenever we react with allergens in our environment. These chemicals are then responsible for many of the allergy symptoms we experience, but they do not just cause swelling in the passages of our nose. However, cytokines appear to affect the brain’s frontal lobes, which explains some of the changes in the mood which is commonly found in those with allergies.

Regardless why depression is evident especially to those who suffer from allergies, this is not just a simple irritation that will just fade over time. Unfortunately, researchers have found that the suicidal risks peaks during spring pollen season, and this can be somehow because of the emotional effects of allergies.

Intellectual Effects

Many people have observed that their allergies seem to make them “slower.” Researches have proven this to be true, whether these cognitive symptoms are associated to fatigue, the medications’ side effects, or due to certain process due to the allergies themselves.

Generally, allergic people with allergies have been found to have slower in terms of verbal reasoning, decision making, and psychomotor speed. This attests that being slower than normal is because of the occurrence of allergic symptoms.

Allergies and Depression: The Surprising Connection. a tired woman

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

The link between allergic rhinitis and attention deficit disorder (ADD) may sometimes go hand in hand. However, there is some evidence that the mechanisms of the two conditions that connect the immune system to the nervous system are the same.

Allergies on children and its Nonnasal Symptoms

Despite of the normal changes in mood to our children, still there is an increased alteration whenever they are sick, especially allergies. Studies have found that children being treated for allergies have increased irritability and temper tantrums. In addition, mood changes due to allergies tend to be more intense in children than in adults.

Before you start getting irritated if your child has shown more tantrums and mood swings, consider to understand what they are going through. Remember that unlike adults, children cannot easily see the link between their allergies and difficulty concentrating at their activities. They may just see the results of their decreased concentration

Why Do Allergies Affect Energy, Mood, and Well Being?

Though not completely understood, allergies can bring intense effects on us probably due to the distraction and sleep disturbance because of the symptoms such as sneezing, congestion and a runny nose. Moreover, an allergic person has drastic changes in mood and energy level probably because of the side effects from allergy medications, like antihistamines. Finally, some researchers think that changes in attitude and behavior can be due to the particular biochemical signals that are released from mast cells and other immune cells in the body, which directly affect the brain of an allergic person.

Allergies and Depression: The Surprising Connection. Young woman suffering from a severe depression, anxiety

What You Can Do

Knowing that there is a link between allergies and other psychological disturbances might be sound discouraging. But there are many things that can be done that could be beneficial both from the perspective of the allergy and its non-nasal symptoms.

The first step to consider is to take a further observation at your environment. Despite of the medications that always available, With the medications we have available, still there are other methods that is always present to address your symptoms, also aiding in avoidance of the cause. Being aware and careful on outdoor pollen can also be done and have some outdoor activities around it.

Most importantly, starting and maintaining a healthy diet, enough sleep, and practicing stress management can still and always make a difference.

Other Treatment Options

If avoiding the causes cannot be an option, having medications can be helpful. Research and find out which medications are best for you to help you treatment your allergies. Some people find allergy shots are better since it often provides the most relief over the long term. Some people use alternative treatment like the Neti Pot nasal irrigation systems. Even though appears that allergies affect much more than our noses and eyes, but help is available.

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