According to the findings of a sizable new study out of Taiwan's Tri-Service General Hospital, doctors who treat patients with asthma and hay fever may want to also keep an eye on their mental health. According to research published on April 24, 2018 in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, those with asthma and hay fever have a 1.66-fold increased chance of getting a mental illness than those without the conditions.
The researchers examined a big health insurance database that covered all of Taiwan from 2000 to 2015 in order to refine the relationship. In total, scientists looked at data for 46,647 people who had issues like hay fever or asthma and 139,941 people who had no history of allergic disorders. The collected data revealed that, over the course of the 15 years under investigation, 10.8% of allergy sufferers received a psychological disorder diagnosis at some point. Only 6.7% of those without allergic illness, in comparison, received a mental diagnosis.
It is clear that hay fever and asthma do not automatically lead to a diagnosis of a mental disease, despite the elevated risk. Indeed, many people experience allergies but never struggle with mental illness. Though many psychiatric diseases are fairly controllable with a variety of drugs and/or therapies, being aware of the connection will undoubtedly help clinicians better monitor patients for indicators of these disorders. Indeed, a Taiwanese doctor who wished to confirm a link that earlier small research had suggested was responsible for this massive study. In a news release, Nian-Sheng Tzeng states, "As a clinician, I saw that certain patients with the three 'A's [asthma, allergic rhinitis/hay fever, and atopic dermatitis/eczema] appeared to suffer emotionally." I wanted to know if these allergy conditions are linked to psychiatric issues in order to clarify that.
However, the results weren't exactly consistent across the board. The groups of atopic dermatitis alone and allergic rhinitis + atopic dermatitis, as well as the combination of all three allergic diseases, were found to be associated with a lower risk of psychiatric disorders in this study, but all four other groups, including bronchial asthma alone, allergic rhinitis alone, bronchial asthma + allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma + atopic dermatitis, and these three allergic diseases.
The study did not explore the relationship between the two, but one possibility is that it may be due to the bodily inflammation that is frequently linked to allergies and is also thought to be present in those who suffer from psychiatric conditions including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Additionally, it's probable that the stress associated with psychological problems exacerbates the physical symptoms of hay fever and asthma.