Allergies and Mood

by Allergy Guy

Can allergies affect your mood?

You bet they can!

For a start, they can lead the negative basic emotions such as anger. They can also lead to depression, mood swings, irritability, lack of motivation, frustration, and a general deterioration of emotional health and well-being.

Choose a negative emotion, and there is a good chance that allergies can cause it or make it worse.

In my own experience, insomnia is one allergy symptom, which in itself can can lead to many of the above problems with mood.

The purpose of this article is not so that you can blame your bad mood or social faux paus on your allergies. What I hope might be possible for you is that if you find there is a connection between allergies and your mood, that you will address your allergies and improve your mood.

Another way of looking at this is that if you do find that your mood chronically needs improving, maybe you should look at allergies and sensitivities as one possible cause.

Knowing the cause may also help you deal with your mood directly. If you discover that your bad moods are caused by eating gluten for example, and you find you have inadvertently eaten some, you can develop the mental capacity to put yourself in a more positive mental outlook (or at least a less negative one) until the symptoms pass.

Since mood and emotions are closely linked, if not a different way of looking at the same thing, it stands to reason that your emotional balance can be severely affected by allergic symptoms.

Allergies and Decision Making

Since mood can affect your judgment and ability to make decisions, allergy symptoms can cause poor decision making, or indecisiveness.

When I feel under the weather, I put off all important decisions if at all possible. This is not procrastination. It is a strategy that allows me to recover to a state where I can make sound decisions. I recommend this to anyone, no matter what the cause of your bad mood.


How do allergies affect your mood? Please leave a comment! You could also explain what you do to improve your mood – that would be really helpful for other readers.



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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave March 29, 2017 at 13:58

I have an allergy to peanuts and sunflower oil & seeds; I’ve known about them for years, but it seems like the symptoms when I accidentally ingest some of either are getting worse. When I eat peanuts I get extremely irritable; nobody can do anything right, takes very little to make me really angry, and I find myself lashing out at others with little provocation. I first discovered the connection between eating peanut products and my mood swings about 20 years ago, and that revelation was a Godsend; my reactions were akin to a Dr. Jekll/Mr. Hyde transformation, but once I dropped peanuts from my diet, my mood swings were pretty much gone.

My reaction to sunflower has recently become very similar to peanuts; extreme irritability. For years I would simply get a sinus headache from sunflower products, but it seems to have morphed. I recently relocated from the US to Germany, and wonder if there is a difference in sunflower products here that is behind the more severe reactions.

I would welcome any links to more information on these reactions and what I can do about them, other than food avoidance. It seems like sunflower oil is hidden in many commercial products, and is used in cooking many restaurant foods.

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2 Allergy Guy April 6, 2017 at 23:49

Possibly an antihistamine or anti inflammatory might help. If you try either or both, please post with your results, positive or otherwise.

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3 Alex June 9, 2015 at 02:40

I have an egg allergy which is getting worse each time I have it (which is very rare as I am really careful) but as well as the actual allergy symptoms (redness, welks, swelling, sickness etc) my mood for a few days after is always really hard for me to control! I am always very down and angry and normally am never like this at all!

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4 Linda August 8, 2013 at 10:47

My “allergies” are mold, dust, pollen and perfume related. Have never had a reaction after eating foods. When I am around certain scents will have a headache, coughing fits, and nausea. Because I feel like crap every little thing upsets me and I treat everyone poorly. Meds don’t help. Fresh air and exercise are my only relief. What I love is people around me at works reaction is. The ones that have this problem understand and those that don’t think its all in your head. Wish I could let everyone feel what I feel. Then maybe they would understand.

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5 scott February 3, 2013 at 14:25

I have celiacs disease and find myself extremely angry anytime I accidently consume gluten. I find its best if I realize im getting angry to avoid any other items that may irritate my liver. Caffeine, Alcohol, etc. I feel it will always be a challenge and a stressful one since it sometime takes my a while to realize I accidently consumed gluten (for those of you who know “brain fog” know what I mean.) Normally im barely ever angry if I’m lucky enough not to have gluten in my system. If it wasn’t for cross contamination I would have the perfect life. The bottom line is if you get angry not matter how difficult take a second to think what the root cause is.

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6 Allergy Guy February 13, 2013 at 18:07

I know what you mean, Scott, I feel the same way when I accidentally eat gluten. For me, and by the sounds of it you as well, the anger is partly because gluten makes me really irritable and stressed out, and partly because I get annoyed at making a stupid mistake/allowing someone else to poison me or whatever, and know I’ll be miserable for weeks.

It helps if you just let go of the anger. Just tell yourself that you’ll get through it and tomorrow will be another better day. You don’t have to get angry, that actually is a choice.

Hope that helps, it does work for me (although I’m not saying it’s easy).

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7 beth January 9, 2013 at 17:04

my mum has been gluten free for some years now due to having severe stomach cramps whenever she touches the stuff but was never tested for being intolerent. id developed allergies at 19 taking anti histamines and 2 types of eye drops for terrible hayfever, suffering mostly in the eyes, even with eye drops and anti histamines in the summer and even during winter! which made no sense but after going on the gluten free diet i found that symptoms in the summer were much milder and continuouse use of anti histamines and eyedrops the alergies were controlled. in winter my alergies would go completely if i took anti histamines, or even as a substitute, found that taking a regular turmeric capsule helped. (research online told me turmeric helps) no need for eye drops.

now i noticed that having a bowl of musli, mostly containg oats and traces of gluten puts me in an awfull mood! like crying for no reason and realy short tempered only 2 hours after having it. i notice i feel like im in a bad mood whenever having this… i wondered if it was linked. also thought perhaps if i had gone on this gluten free diet years before my allergies started i may not have allergies in the first place. i hear they are very much linked with digestion.

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8 Tamara December 9, 2012 at 14:28

My children and I recently underwent an elimination diet for one month. At the end of the month we “celebrated” by eating pizza. ONE MEAL and what a difference. My kids didn’t feel sick but did end up dozing off about an hour early – right where they were, like a sleeping disorder. I felt nausea and heartburn right away, had nightmares and the following day found every little thing intollerable. My children fought like it was a third world war My obsessive need for order came rushing back and I yelled at my family for about an hour solid. For the month of the elimination we had our ups and downs…first week detox, then three weeks of energy and bliss (besides lack of sugar cravings). Because it was pizza and full of all the stuff we were avoiding I cannot pinpoint the allergen but we are back to the elimination for the next week until we can introduce items one at a time to see where the problem is. I GUARANTEE that food intolerances are the reason for the mood swings and irritability. Add any biological issue to allegies and you seem to get compounded problems. PMS plus gluten intolerance equals crazy. At least in my house. From now on, clean eating and strict adherence are our road to a happy healthy home.

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9 Allergy Guy December 10, 2012 at 23:10

Well, at least you know that pizza contains ingredients you can’t eat. That sounds like a shock to the system though!

I have more thoughts about this which I shared in a new article Food Elimination Diet – Finishing it Right.

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10 Miguel May 20, 2012 at 11:30

Hi everyone and thanks for this website to help us all with our allergies.
Steve, this is a good point you’ve made mate and it’s exactly the way I was feeling, kind of having a dizzy, blurred, not sharp view of everything around me. My concentration was very bad and I felt tired all the time.
My worst and most bothering symptom was feeling I had something the size of a plum stuck at the back of my nose, just at the area around my sinuses. I did everything possible to flush it away with saline water as I thought it was mucus, but that feeling wouldn’t go away. It was very frustrating indeed as it was also lasting for over two years. Do you imagine the feeling?
I also had mood swings and felt down all the time. At the same time I had chills and changes in body temperature: I felt my hands would go really cold compared to my body and I felt down again.
After 9 weeks wheat free I feel I am a different person and my vision has cleared up considerably. I can see things properly now, more clear and definitely sharper!
The feeling of having a plum stuck behind my nose is gone and I can breathe through my nose like a human being.
Now, I am hoping to see further improvements to my health as time goes by as I have read it takes a while for wheat to be completely out of my system and my body to heal up.
Having said that, I am happy just up to now, with this improvement to my health; any more I can get is up to the Lord and I will thank him for it.
Finally, I also want to thank all the people who made it possible with their kind and helpful comments all over this beautiful thing called the Internet.
Cheers, Miguel.

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11 Allergy Guy May 20, 2012 at 12:29

Glad you discovered the source of your symptoms, that’s great!
I started off on a wheat-free diet years ago and it really helped. After some years I went completely gluten-free and felt even better. Something for you to consider, since wheat is the hardest part and you’ve eliminated that already.

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12 Miguel July 3, 2012 at 17:31

Thank you very much, I’m already trying that.
God bless.

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13 Steve August 31, 2011 at 21:42

I’m wondering if anyone else has felt like this:
I found out recently that I have allergies that are swelling my sinuses. I had no experience before with allergies, and didn’t even know what was going on until bad headaches led me to the doctor. What I had noticed over several months is that I feel like things are less “sharp,” and I was wondering if somehow that had to do with my sense of smell being diminished. I know that smell is strongly connected to memory, etc. and I have to say that things have seemed less vivid, like there’s a sort of disconnect from everything I do. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

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14 Davey Hart March 14, 2011 at 13:42

dude, I love this. It’s so right.

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15 Nicole June 28, 2010 at 00:10

I am the mother of a food allergic child. She under goes a food allergy test every 6 months to see if she has “outgrown” some of her food allergies. About two weeks ago she under went the testing. The doctor informed us that she tested negative to wheat, milk and soy…YEAH…and that we could try to reintroduce them into her diet. While she loved the access to all the new foods, I immediately noticed a change in her personality. She became VERY moody, aggressive and emotional. She would cry at the drop of a hat. While she is only 2-1/2 years old…this was a total change from her normal behavior. I’ve also noticed that she is much more tired and has been sleeping more. I’ve seen this happen in the past and have always discontinued the suspected foods. This is the first time that we’ve allowed the exposure to the foods to continue. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking on my part that maybe she would adjust and we could continue with the new “easy” lifestyle. Today was the day to end all days. I think she spent more time fighting with her brother and crying than she did being happy. This is just not acceptable. I don’t care what modern medicine tells me. I have a mother’s intuition. I know that she is still sensative to wheat no matter what the tests say. We are going to go back to her wheat/milk/soy/potato free diet. While I wish life could be as easy as ordering dinner at the driver through rather than making EVERYTHING from scratch, it’s just not worth her happiness and health…not to mention the happiness of the family as a whole. I hope that with time she will be able to tolerate the foods, but for now we’ll get along without them like we have been since she was 6 weeks old.

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16 Allergy Guy June 28, 2010 at 08:41

Hi Niclole,

Your “mother’s intuition” is a lot more scientific than “modern medicine” tests.

What your doctor didn’t tell you is that allergy tests are not 100% accurate. They tend not to show a reaction to foods that have been cut from the diet, no matter how allergic you are to those foods.

You’ve done the ultimate test – re-introduced the foods, only to find that they do not agree with your daughter.

Believe that ultimate test every time.

Use allergy tests as a guide for what to cut out, but not what to re-introduce.

Actually, I’d suggest you wait years, not months, before re-introducing foods. Let your daughter grow up and maybe grow out of her allergies.

Mean while, I suggest you get a second opinion from another doctor on the whole approach your current doctor is taking.

Hope that helps.

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