Allergy-Related Psychological Distress Common

Findings seen among adults and children with food allergies, as well as caregivers of children with food allergies

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 2, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Psychological distress related to food allergies (FA) is common globally, according to a study published online June 21 in Allergy.

Rebecca C. Knibb, Ph.D., from Aston University in Birmingham, England, and colleagues assessed psychological distress and service use among adults, caregivers, and children with FA. The global survey included responses from 1,329 adults with FA and 1,907 caregivers of children with FA.

The researchers found that 67.7 percent of adults and 77.2 percent of caregivers reported direct experience of psychological distress, while 51.6 percent of caregivers said their child had experienced FA-related psychological distress. Anxiety about having an allergic reaction was the most commonly reported issue. Fewer than one in five had been assessed for FA-related psychological distress. Across countries, there were significant differences for levels of distress, screening for distress, seeing a mental health professional, and being diagnosed with an FA-related mental health disorder. The highest levels of distress were seen in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Brazil. Cost was the most commonly reported barrier to seeing a mental health professional.

“Allergy providers are encouraged to routinely assess families for psychological distress and provide access to appropriate mental health resources,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to relevant organizations.

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