Research by Dr Partam Manalai of the department of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association shows that people with depression or bipolar disorder who are allergic to tree or ragweed pollen experience worse depression when exposed to that allergen.
As many as one in 10 Americans suffers from depression and as many as one in five may have seasonal allergies, or hay fever; some studies suggest that people with hay fever are prone to mood disorders.
To further explore this relationship the researchers recruited 100 individuals who had been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder. Of the total, 53% tested positive for allergies to ragweed or tree pollen.
In people with allergies, scores worsened substantially from low pollen season to high pollen season. The worse their allergy symptoms, the greater the change.
Dr Manalai stressed that only people with mood disorders were studied; otherwise healthy people who feel miserable during allergy season should not assume that they are suffering from depression. However, for those who suffer from both depression and allergies, and that treating the allergies may prevent deeper depression.
First Published May 2010
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