Taipei, April 23 : Patients suffering from asthma and hay fever may be at increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders, a new study suggests.
The findings suggested that almost 11 per cent of patients with common allergic diseases developed a psychiatric disorder within a 15-year period, compared to only 6.7 per cent of those without -- a 1.66-fold increased risk.
"Asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and atopic dermatitis (eczema), are among some of the most common allergic diseases and are nicknamed the three 'A's," said lead author Nian-Sheng Tzeng from the Tri-Service General Hospital in Taiwan.
While previous studies have linked allergies with certain psychiatric or emotional disorders, this is the first study to find a connection between common allergies and the overall risk of developing psychiatric disorders, the researchers said.
The new research suggests that inflammation is linked to psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety disorders.
As allergies also involve inflammation, it is possible that it may contribute to psychiatric disorders in the same patients.
The psychological stress of a psychiatric disorder might also contribute to physical symptoms.
For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, the researchers identified 46,647 people in the database with allergic diseases and 139,941 without.
The data also revealed that people with atopic dermatitis had a lower risk of developing a psychiatric disorder, while those with asthma and allergic rhinitis had a higher risk.
The team discovered that using certain asthma medications was associated with a lower risk of psychiatric disorders in asthma patients.