Allergies disorders may have a bidirectional causal relationship with mental disorders. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to assess the associations between cognitive abilities and emotional function tests and quality of life with the presence of allergic disease in young women. The experiment was done on a large sample of about 12 thousand to 3.5 lakh people. The researchers and the scholars of Population Health Science and Psychological Science at Bristol Medical School carried out the experiment to find out whether allergic diseases lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or do these diseases cause allergic diseases? The new research claims that the few pieces of evidence of an observational relationship between allergic diseases and mental health were found due to confounding or other forms of bias.
These mental health conditions included depression, major depressive disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and neuroticism. The researchers concluded, “We did not find evidence of causal effects between allergic disease genetic risk and mental health.”
Senior study author Dr. Hannah Sallis, a senior research associate in genetic epidemiology at Bristol Medical School, explains that the study ultimately utilized a variety of methodologies and data to reach its conclusions. “This helps to strengthen our confidence in the findings. Establishing whether allergic disease causes mental health problems, or vice versa, is important to ensure that resources and treatment strategies are targeted appropriately.
A diagnosis of allergic disorders, comprising allergic rhinitis (AR), asthma and atopic dermatitis (AD), was confirmed by a specialist in allergy. The presence and severity of depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia and sleepiness were evaluated using validated questionnaires. Cognitive abilities and quality of life were assessed using standard instruments.
There has been a steady rise in the prevalence of atopy in some countries, in particular allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis (AR), and atopic dermatitis (AD), in recent decades. Allergic disease is common globally, with different manifestations affecting more than half of the general population. Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis is a chronic IgE-induced inflammation in the nasopharynx with typical manifestations include nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, sneezing, as well as itching.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorders of the airways described as a reversible airflow obstruction and bronchial hyper-sensitivity affecting 300 million people worldwide [5, 6]. Eczema is a pruritic chronic skin disorders related to defective skin barrier extended immunological responses to environmental stimuli.
Visible skin lesions or itching could lead to social consequences that might exacerbate mental health conditions. And sleep deprivation due to allergy discomfort could similarly affect a person’s mental health.
The study also cites the “inflammatory hypothesis,” which proposes that mental health conditions might arise from the immune system’s inflammatory response to allergies.
Allergic cases had higher anxiety and insomnia scores, and lower mental health related quality of life scores compared to those without any allergy (p < 0.05; Table 2). No significant difference was found between atopy and non-atopy groups in terms of cognitive abilities tasks (p > 0.05).