Physical health, meet mental health.
We can’t really have one without the other. Our mental health can impact our physical health (such as getting sick more frequently when you are depressed), and our physical health can impact our mental health (such as when we miss out on a big event because we have the flu). Chronic medical conditions and mental health go both ways, influencing one another (Katon, 2011).
With food allergies and other chronic conditions, mental health can play a big role. Research has found that there is a relationship between physician-diagnosed allergies and mood and anxiety disorders (Goodwin et al, 2012). When we have allergies, we also may have some anxiety or depression. Food allergy has also been found to have a negative effect on health-related quality of life in individuals (Lieberman and Sicherer, 2011). (Health-related quality of life is talking about the impact that a health condition has on our physical, social, and psychological well-being (Lieberman and Sicherer, 2011)).
So, guess what – when our immune systems (or any other systems) mess with our bodies and the food we put into them, we have a hard time getting used to it!
Health really takes the whole person into consideration. There’s a model called the biopsychosocial-spiritual model, which looks at physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of a person as part of healthcare (Sulmasy, 2002). This model can be helpful when thinking about the ways we combat our sicknesses and keep up our health, and the ways our physical health may interact with our mental health. “Starting from Scratch” will at times address each piece of the biopsychosocialspiritual model.
Each of these aspects of ourselves can influence the way we get sick. That being said, they can also impact the ways we get well, the ways we live well, and the ways we find our paths to health!
Goodwin, R.D., Galea, S., Perzanowski, M., & Jacobi, F. (2012). Impact of allergy treatment on the association between allergies and mood and anxiety in a population sample. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 42(12), 1765-1771.
Katon, W.J. (2011) Epidemiology and treatment of depression in patients with chronic medical illness. Dialogues Clinical Neuroscience, 13(1), 7–23.
Lieberman, J.A., & Sicherer, S.H. (2011). Quality of Life in Food Allergy. Current Opinion in Allergy and Immunology, 11, 236-242.
Sulmasy, D.P. (2002). A Biopsychosocial-spiritual model for the care of patients at the end of life. The Gerontologist, 42, 24-33.