Food Allergies and Childhood Anxiety

Researchers have decided to study children with food allergies to find out if there were any links between childhood food allergies and anxiety or depression. For the children’s caregivers, there was no link to depression or anxiety and for the children themselves, there was no link to depression but there was a link between those with food allergies and childhood anxiety.

The children who were studied were from a socioeconomic status that was predominantly low and with minority children. For those children studied, the ones who had a food allergy were found to have a significant increase in childhood anxiety. The study was published in the journal of pediatrics and was done by researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine as well as those at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Researchers studied about 80 children aged 4 to 12 years old both with and without food allergies including their caregivers on the study as well. Children were studied from a group of minorities location in the Bronx, New York. Children without a food allergy came in at about 48% experiencing childhood anxiety while those with a food allergy were reporting anxiety in about 57% of patients.

Among factors considered to increase anxiety in this group of participants is the stress from managing a food allergy including cost of food and preparation as well as the cost of the annually expiring epinephrine auto-injectors. Because children were studied from lower economic status, having fewer financial resources could be a driving factor for the anxiety.

Food allergies were also linked to the fear of humiliation and social rejection as well as social anxiety. While management of the allergy alone can be particularly stress-provoking, those same children may also be prone to feeling different from their peers which can present social anxiety as well.

As more and more young people are experiencing food allergies, knowledge and education must be spread to help those coping with the stresses of managing a life or death food allergy. Whether you know a child with an allergy or not, do what you can to spread awareness and help those in need.

N.D. “Food Allergies Linked to Childhood Anxiety”. Science Daily.(Website). June 2017
Sign In or Register to comment.