People who suffer from allergies are at higher risk of developing psychiatric disorders. Findings of a new study conducted by researchers in Taiwan revealed that common allergic diseases namely asthma, eczema, and hay fever are linked to increased odds for mental illness.
The Three A's
Nian-Sheng Tzeng, from Tri-Service General Hospital in Taiwan, said that he noticed something in patients suffering from the so-called three A's, the most common allergic diseases: asthma, atopic dermatitis, or eczema, and allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.
"As a clinician, I observed that some patients with the three 'A's appeared to suffer emotionally," Tzeng said.
To investigate the possible link between allergic diseases and psychiatric disorders, Tzeng and colleagues looked at a database of health insurance claims of 46,647 people with allergic diseases and 139,941 of those without the ailments over the period between 2000 and 2015.
Allergic Diseases And Psychiatric Disorders
The researchers found that over the 15-year period, 10.8 percent of the people with allergic diseases developed psychiatric disorder. Of those with no allergic disease, only 6.7 percent developed mental health issues.
The findings showed that people with allergies have 1.66-fold increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders than those without allergies.
For those with allergies, Tzeng and colleagues also found that sufferers of atopic dermatitis tend to have lower risk of developing psychiatric disorder. Those with allergic rhinitis and asthma, however, have higher risk.
The researchers suggest that inflammation is associated with psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. Since allergies involve inflammation, it is possible that these also contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders in patients with allergies.
Earlier studies have already associated allergies and psychiatric or emotional disorders, but the new study is the first to show a link between common allergies and general risk for psychiatric disorders.
The researchers hope that the findings would have implications on how doctors look after and monitor their patients with allergic diseases.
"We have demonstrated that the patients with allergic diseases were at a significantly higher risk of psychiatric disorders than the control group," the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry on April 24.
"We sincerely hope that this study will provide the necessary information for an earlier intervention for patients with allergic diseases."
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States.