Fear of Allergies and Anaphalactic

Patient

Q: In the last three years I've developed an irrational fear of allergies and anaphylactic shock. I can't stop worrying about it and can no longer enjoy eating out and eating food with out this fear popping into my mind. Sometimes it's so bad I have full on panic attacks. I do have seasonal grass allergies and 20 years ago ate lobster and shrimp and had a couple of minor reactions (itchy mouth and one time stomach pains and vomiting) So I stopped eating it and I never thought about anaphalaxis no worries until recently when I heard about it and started doing research and found out that any food can cause it and it can happen anytime, Even the drug commercials warn about it, So I stopped enjoying food and now its a horrible experience for me to meet friends out for dinner or trying new foods and even taking medicine for a headache or cold. So I went and got tested for allergies to see how bad it is. Well no allegies to nuts, but I got 3 out of 6 on the blood test for Shrimp and lobster. I asked the doctor what does that mean? He said it could mean nothing or you could have a severe reaction. Here is an epipen. What? Why after 42 years I need an epipen? I asked about other food allergies instantly happening. He said, They can develop anytime and can be severe. I went there hoping to get a rational response and put myself at ease and get my life back to normal. But now I feel terrible and on the verge of a panic attack everytime I eat or take medicine, Which I have eaten before. It is terrible way to live and now when I get a congested nose because of a cold or allergies I go into a high level of anxiety and can't breath through my mouth without gagging...... Help!I

Doctor

A:   Hello
Thanks for using "Ask The Doctor" for posting your query.
The symptoms that you are describing are probably a part of the syndrome called phobic disorder. Its a type of anxiety disorder and its very common. It occurs due to the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonine, nor-epinephrine, and dopamine. This condition can be corrected with the help of medicines such as paroxetine, mirtazapine or venlafaxine. These medicines start showing improvement in 2-3 weeks and the illness requires a treatment of 6-8 months. During this period, try to do regular exercise and eat healthy food and try inculcating some hobby. If you averse to medicines, then cognitive behavioural therapy can help you in the treatment of this anxiety disorder. This is a specialized counselling technique mastered by clinical psychologists and is almost as effective as medicine.
You may meet your doctor and get these medicines prescribed, or you can request for a psychologist consult.

Do meet your doctor.
Hope this helps,
Wish you a good health.

Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: Thank you, I had a feeling it would be something like that. Is there anything you can tell me about Anaphalaxis that would but my worries at ease while I wait to see a therapist? Why would the allegist say something well could happen anytime and could develop anytime?
Doctor: Hello
What your ellergist meant to say was you are just as likely to develop an anaphylaxis as any other normal human being. You dont have any extra chance of developing the same. However the fear of getting an anaphylaxis will harm you more as it is impairing your life. Do seek help and get it rectified.
Kind regards

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