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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Impact of allergy treatment on the association between allergies and mood and anxiety in a population sample



Renee D Goodwin, 722 West 168th Street, Rm 1505, New York, NY 10032, USA.




Previous studies have suggested an association between allergy and mood and anxiety disorders. Yet, extant work suffers from methodological limitations.


To investigate the association between physician-diagnosed allergy and DSM-IV mood and anxiety disorders in the general population, and to examine the role of allergy treatment in this relationship.


Data were drawn from the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey, a population-based, representative sample of 4,181 adults aged 18-65 in Germany. Allergy was diagnosed by physicians during medical examination and mental disorders were diagnosed using the CIDI.


Allergy was associated with an increased prevalence of any anxiety disorder [OR = 1.3 (1.1, 1.6)], panic attacks [OR = 1.6 (1.1, 2.1)], panic disorder [OR = 1.6 (1.01, 2.3)], GAD [OR = 1.8 (1.1, 3.0)], any mood disorder [OR = 1.4 (1.1, 1.7)], depression [OR = 1.4 (1.1, 1.7)] and bipolar disorder [OR = 2.0, (1.0, 3.8)]. After adjusting for desensitization treatment status, these relationships were no longer significant. Those treated for allergy were significantly less likely to have any mood or anxiety disorder [OR = 0.65 (0.4, 0.96)], compared to those untreated. All relationships were adjusted for age, gender and socioeconomic status (SES).

Conclusions & Clinical Relevance

These findings provide the first evidence of a link between physician-diagnosed allergy and DSM-IV mood and anxiety disorders in a representative sample. Treatment for allergy may mitigate much of this relationship.

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