Anaphylaxis and Anxiety
For most parents of severely allergic children the focus of their concern is ensuring that their child does not come into contact with their allergen. But while some children remain relatively carefree - relying on their parents to do the worrying for them - others take the responsibility for managing their condition on their own shoulders and become unreasonably anxious and concerned. The following article by a member of the American Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network - www.foodallergy.org - illustrates the dangers.
Our 10-year-old son Stephen was diagnosed with a severe milk
allergy as an infant but had no further reactions until he was eight.
However, this episode catapulted him into unexpected and long-lasting
The therapist assured me that Stephen did not have obsessive-compulsive disorder
and that his response was normal for this encounter with a life and death situation.
She told us that we needed to help him learn to cope with the anxiety and stress
that living with an allergy causes.
He used a ‘perceived anxiety scale’ to let us know how anxious he was feeling on a scale from 1 to 10. When he was uncomfortable, we asked that he share his feelings of frustration and anger openly and respectfully and we did our best not to personalise them.
Eventually he began to accept risk as a part of life. He is now doing well but it took consistency, patience, understanding and constant reassurance for him to feel safe again.
Our allergist’s jingle is ‘Educate, Equip and Enjoy’. Applying the three Es to both the physical and emotional aspects of food allergy is essential if one is to live successfully with it.
Courtesy of FAAN - www.foodallergy.org
First published in 2006
If you found this article interesting, you will find many more articles on anaphylaxis here, and reports of research into anaphylaxis here.