Q: How do asthma, allergies and eczema affect a patient’s mental health?

Purvi Parikh, MD: Depression and anxiety are very common among asthma, allergy and eczema patients – especially since these are chronic conditions that, while very manageable, don’t have a cure.

For many, it can be overwhelming to manage a health condition on a daily basis. These are diseases that can affect your appearance, lead to anxiety over the medications you have to take, or cause you to miss school or work.

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available. It’s important to get your anxiety or depression under control because when uncontrolled it can impact your asthma, allergies and eczema.

Anxiety symptoms, for example, can mimic asthma and allergy symptoms. When your anxiety is uncontrolled, it can be hard to tell if those symptoms are related to an asthma attack or an anxiety attack.

Q: What mental health resources are available to help people with asthma, allergies and eczema?

Many resources exist for patients, from mental health counselors to support groups. More than 50 million Americans suffer from asthma, allergies and eczema, so you don’t have to go through it alone.

If you feel you need help, it is important to speak with a doctor who can guide you to the right mental health professional, whether it’s a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Resources also exist online with advocacy groups such as Allergy & Asthma Network and professional societies such as the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).

Purvi Parikh, MD, is a board-certified allergist and immunologist with Allergy and Asthma Associates of Murray Hill and New York University School of Medicine in New York City. She is also a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Have a medical question? Email editor@allergyasthmanetwork.org or write to Ask the Allergist, Allergy & Asthma Network, 8229 Boone Blvd., Suite 260, Vienna, VA 22182.

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