Posted by: Chris Maloney | October 2, 2012

Are Your Allergies Literally Making You Crazy?

English: Mushrooms

We have entered deeply into the fall mold season, and my backyard is full of mushrooms. With the warm weather the next couple of days should be primed for allergy misery.

I know that many patients tell me their allergies make them crazy, so I thought I’d look into the idea.

Predictably, allergic responses do indeed lead to worsening of existing mental illness.  The effect is based on pollen counts, and worsens as the counts worsen.  The researchers hypothesized that depression sufferers might be improved in mood by dealing with their allergies during high season.

The effect of difficulty breathing also affects the mood of asthma patients.  A progression to worsening mood follows lower oxygen intakes.

Looking at depression and things like allergies and asthma leads to a clarity in the shortcomings of the current medical model for dealing with these illnesses.

The system established should allow a patient’s primary care doctor to manage  allergy medication, asthma medication, and depression medication.  But in practice, the three medications are prescribed by three different specialists, and the primary care doctor simply defers to their expert opinion.

Since patients do not normally see their specialists promptly, a medication for depression might be raised because of an outbreak in pollen a week earlier.  Or an asthma medication might be raised because pollen caused increased difficulty breathing.

We need to return to a central primary care model with specialists as secondary consultants rather than fragmented primary care givers.  And we need to allow those primary care doctors adequate time to manage all a patient’s medication rather than treating a single acute issue each visit.



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