People's Depression Worsen During Allergy Season

Advertisement

New research is showing that people with depression or bipolar disorder that are allergic to certain pollens such as tree or ragweed, experience worse depression when exposed to that allergen.

"The worse the allergy symptoms, the worse their depression scores [on a standardized test used to assess depression and mania]," says researcher Partam Manalai, MD, of the department of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The findings discovered that allergies can make depression symptoms much worse. This is the first time that's been shown. While more research is needed to understand how allergies may make depression worse, the findings also indicate that treating a depressed person's allergies may help improve their mood, even if they aren't experiencing symptoms.

Advertisement

One in 10 Americans suffers from depression. As many as one in five may have seasonal allergies says researcher Partam Manalai, MD, of the department of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. "In patients with allergy and depression, prophylactic treatment of these conditions may prevent worsening of mood during peak allergen season," Manalai says.

"But in people with depression and allergies, we think treating the allergies may prevent worsening of depression symptoms," he says.

Allergists have reported that persons with certain allergies may feel fatigued and mentally “down” during the season. Some people suffer from insomnia. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 showed that people with allergies were more likely to have sleep problems than people without the condition. In the study, about 35% of allergic rhinitis patients reported insomnia.

Manalai also points out that only people with mood disorders were studied; otherwise healthy people who feel the symptoms of allergies during allergy season shouldn't go charging into their doctor's office asking for antidepressants to ease symptoms.

Advertisement