Psychological Factors and Allergy

People tend to object when you say that psychological factors are involved in the majority of the medical conditions. Nevertheless, it is a fact that stress plays an important part in the aggravation of allergic episodes in both frequency and severity.

Stress and Allergy

As far as hay fever or rhinitis is concerned, stress has two effects. As you know, stress produces an increased amount of a chemical called adrenaline. The first reaction is that the adrenal glands, which produce adrenaline, are working full time and are unable to produce sufficient extra adrenaline to fight the histamine that is released by the mast cells. The second relies on the fact that there are two parts to the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic system, which primarily controls the stress response; and the parasympathetic system. It is this that deals with the immune response and the fight against infection and foreign bodies and if the autonomic system as a whole is constantly active, monitoring the stress response, the immune response is likely to suffer. It is for this reason that reducing stress and emphasizing a positive approach to dealing with allergic conditions is important.

The Symptoms

Most allergens enter the body through the respiratory system (nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs).

Allergen stimulation in the upper respiratory system can result in :

1.) Sneezing

2.) Runny nose

3.) Nasal congestion

4.) Scratchy throat

5.) Post-nasal drip

6.) Itchy eyes and nose

7.) Watery eyes

Allergen stimulation in the lower respiratory system may produce:

1.) Chest tightening

2.) Wheezing

3.) Breathing trouble

4.) Coughing

When allergens stimulate the stomach and intestines, they can cause:

1.) Nausea

2.) Vomiting

3.) Diarrhoea
Sometimes, an allergic response results in hives or a rash.


Anaphylaxis, the most severe allergic reaction, results when an allergen causes a reaction in the circulatory system (blood, heart, and chest). During anaphylaxis, blood vessels relax and lose fluid. This causes blood pressure to drop, which can make you dizzy. The fluid also leaks into surrounding tissues causing them to swell. If the swelling is severe, it can restrict your airways, making it impossible to breathe.