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 Post subject: Allergy-related Anxiety
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:58 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Pickering
Hi everyone,

I've been allergic to nuts since I was a toddler and peanuts since I was 14 years old. I'm very careful about my allergies and haven't had a serious reaction (that warranted a hospital visit) in about 6 years...

That being said, in the last year or so I've found myself suffering from anxiety about my allergies. Every time I eat at a restaurant or try a new food I have bad anxiety. Even if I've made sure everything is safe, checked with the manager and been assured everything is fine. I start getting itchy and nervous. My heart beats way too fast and uncontrollably, and I get the shakes. Sometimes I think I even GIVE myself hives because I get so nervous. I tend to chew gum constantly, it sounds weird but I feel like when I chew gum I'm always swallowing so I always feel that my throat is okay and not starting to swell.

I get a hive or two almost daily, but sometimes if I get a few or if they're around my mouth the same thing happens, I can't tell after if it's an actual reaction or just my anxiety getting the best of me.

I've been thinking about seeing a therapist but I thought I'd post here to see if anyone else deals with this and how they control it?

Sorry about the long winded post.

_________________
Cassandra 24 years old.
Allergic to peanuts/most treenuts, cats and dogs.
Grew out of lactose intolerance.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
I used to do that with gum as well. :huggy I don't think I could have ever explained why gum made me feel safer, but it did.

I went through a period where I was actually going to the ER thinking I was having a reaction, but it was just anxiety. What worked for me was, kind of a twisted version of preparing for labor. I would go to my "happy place". Think calm thoughts and actually concentrate on slowing down my heart (as opposed to thinking about relaxing my muscles which is supposed to lessem pain during labor).

It didn't work the first time, but after a few attempts, I felt my heart slow down, just for a few beats, but TO ME that meant it was probaby anxiety. And believing it was anxiety made me less anxious, which slowed my heart and made breathing easier.

Eventually, this became easy to do, and once it was easy to do I stopped having the anxiety attacks.

I do not eat in restaurants. I might trust them with peanuts, but I don't trust them with a sesame allergy.

I do think it's possible to get hives from anxiety, but which comes first?

~~~~~

Have you been getting a few hives daily all along, or is this new? Are you aboiding even "may contain" foods? If there's no warning written, do you check the companies labelling policy? There is no law requiring companies to put those warnings. Fortunately, for peanuts and nuts, a lot of companies chose to add them.

_________________
self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:58 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Pickering
Well I'm glad I don't sound crazy about the gum thing then lol I'm going through one of those big tubs of gum like once a week!

I'd say I'm pretty careful. I don't eat anything with "May contains" or similar warnings, and if a product doesn't have any mention of nuts or a warning I usually call the company to make sure I can have it if it's a new product. When I eat at restaurants I always talk to the server or manager to ensure that it's safe for me to eat there.

It's weird, when I was younger I was so unsafe about my allergies. I ate at Baskin & Robbins and Tim Hortons until I was about 13 years old :frightened .

I always get hives though. I have really sensitive skin so sometimes they'll be from my dog, or when my boyfriend has facial hair and kisses me I'll get them on my face too.

_________________
Cassandra 24 years old.
Allergic to peanuts/most treenuts, cats and dogs.
Grew out of lactose intolerance.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
This is my own opinion and is NOT based on any research.

I suspect that foods never used to be cross contaminated as much as they are these days. Part of this (I think) is because there didn't used to be so much variety. There used to be cheerios....now there are how many kids of cheerios? And many foods are like that. Also, everything wasn't so automated, so machines were probably easier to thoroughly clean....or they were used to make less variety of things.

So, it doesn't really surprise me when I hear someone who grew up not worrying abut may contains now reacts to them.

As for the beard stubble.....my doctor was showing me how a person susceptible to hives will often develop what looks similar to a hive when they get scratches. We scratched both our arms. His was nearly impossible to see, but mine developed what looked like a huge welt. It didn't last long.

And about the gum....the rest of the world might think we're weird, but at least we can be weird together. :rofl

_________________
self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:58 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Pickering
So I thought I'd update this as my anxiety has worsened over the past few months... I recently went on a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican, and it was a disaster allergy wise.

I'll preface by saying that just thinking about eating so far away from home was giving me anxiety and panic attacks to the point where my mother was ready to bring me to the hospital. I've been on many vacations but since my anxiety is getting worse and worse I started dreading this last vacation instead of looking forward to it :( ... I chose a resort that was supposed to be good with allergies and had reassuring webpages and reviews saying that they cater to allergic guests so I was pumped to go but still brought a lot of my own food just in case... and thank GOD.

I got there and spoke to guest services right away which gave me allergy cards to give to the restaurants. I had one for nuts and one for shellfish. The cards said "I have a life threatening allergy to ________ please assist me in my food choices and let me know if anything is unsafe or could possibly be contaminated". They said this in both English and Spanish so I felt a little more comfortable but still stuck to my own food for then... That night we went to an a la carte restaurant that was a steak house. A friend that came with me also had an allergy to peanuts but it is much less severe, mostly hives and nausea but not anaphylaxis. Anyway, she ordered the dessert (she's not very safe AT ALL, maybe because she doesn't think her allergies are life-threatening :banghead )
which was a brownie. When it came I SAW that there were nuts in it right away and told her not to eat it. We called the chef over and I told him in Spanish that she was allergic, and showed him the cards and asked if she could get another dessert without nuts. The chef agreed, acted like he knew what I was saying and then proceeded to bring her another dessert with nuts all over it.


That was my last straw. I spent 8 days eating nothing but beef jerky, bananas (solely because they have a peel and I know they couldn't have touched anything) and whatever snacks I brought like safe granola bars and crackers. Even only eating my safe foods I had daily anxiety and thought my throat was closing constantly.

I thought it might be better once I was home but I'm still terrified over eating and having anxiety no matter how many times I check the ingredients. My doctor gave me Attivan, which is an anxiety medication that you take only in a major attack which calms you down but I feel like my life is at a halt right now. I'm petrified of eating at restaurants I've always eaten at and I feel like Im going insane.


HELP.

:freak

_________________
Cassandra 24 years old.
Allergic to peanuts/most treenuts, cats and dogs.
Grew out of lactose intolerance.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 10:00 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6479
Location: Ottawa
Oh dear... :frightened
I'm so sorry that you had such a bad experience!
Have you spoken to the guest services again?

I can't imagine how scary that must have been! It must really make you distrustful of those whom you need to rely upon.

Is there any counsellor in your town who has experience with food allergies?

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 929
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Hi Cassandra, I'm so sorry to hear about your challenging trip! Thank goodness you came prepared with some of your own food. Please don't lose faith in people that really DO understand food allergies and can manage them well for you - including yourself! Unfortunately, on this trip, you encountered individuals who simply did not understand the complexities of preparing food safely for the food allergic, and the real dangers. You WILL encounter people like this, but you will also encounter people that CAN and WANT to help you. If you are dining out locally, you always have the option of leaving the restaurant if you sense they do not have a grasp as to how to handle you food allergies. I understand your anxiety, I really do. It is real and you must face the reality that you are feeling letdown and will have difficulty trusting others. But, you can trust yourself, and your own knowledge. Why don't you start there. Buy food and prepare it yourself for awhile. Realise that you KNOW that you are prepared if you have an allergic reaction, and you know what to do. We've given our son the Epipen 3 times, and seeing his nearly immediate relief from the symptoms from the reaction was reason enough to NEVER hesitate in giving the Epipen. He said it barely hurt at all (he is now 10 yrs old and last received the Epi at the age of eight), and he barely had any mark at all from it - I really had to search his leg for the tiny mark. Please put in place ANY safeguards for you to, once again, have faith in your own ability to prepare safe food for yourself. Start small, with few ingredients, and build your comfort level. Take comfort in knowing that you have prepared the food safely. It's a gradual process to rebuild trust. We've had to go through this with some of our son's reactions when others have prepared his food when they did not have full knowledge themselves as to how to do this safely. If we feel individuals have the knowledge and care to prepare for him, we will allow it. And there ARE people out there who can safely cook for him and we have been able to enjoy and appreciate the effort that others have gone to. But if there is any doubt at all, we bring his food. If there is a bbq going on, we bring our own little bbq with tongs to handle his food. We bring any extra food we need to (sometimes all of it) so we can ensure his safety and our enjoyment of the day. It is very rare for us to go somewhere when we haven't had to bring some (or all) of his meal because of the challenges faced with preparing food for multiple food allergic individuals. I hope I'm not making you more anxious. I really hope you can find ways to feel safe when you are eating!! Take care of yourself and expect this will be a process. :huggy to you.

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, peas, carrots, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:44 am
Posts: 6
Cassandra,

I so understand where you are coming from. People laugh at me but I almost always vacation in disney because they are so allergy friendly its one of the few places I feel ok eating. It is stressful and as we all know anxiety makes an allergic reaction only feel worse. I do suggest learning some relaxation techniques. I'd also just try to create a list of restaurants you've had good experiences at so you can have a save zone as your expand your choices.

Good luck


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 9:47 am
Posts: 305
Location: Montreal, Canada
To deal with my anxiety, I take the hard line.

I only eat what me or my wife prepare or at my mom's. Those are the only people I trust who will take all the precautions I take with my food. I don't eat out. If I eat at a friend or a relative other than my parents, I bring my own food. People know the situation and no one gets upset. It's no worth it to eat out and be stressed about it.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:06 pm
Posts: 1
I am so sorry to hear of your severe anxiety. I am dealing with the same exact thing, though I suspect my leaky gut / Candida infection is the mane cause of my food allergies. I am being treated for it and it does seem to be helping tremendously.

Preface: I am now 30 years old.

I have always been allergic to milk. Even as a baby I was miserable and cranky and always upset and had bad digestive issues. So mom figured it out when I was probably 5 or 6 years old and was off milk products until about 10 years old when she went back to work when we bought our first house. Then I developed severe mental illness that wasn't "diagnosed" until I was 21 years old. Then I made the connection just in the last 7 months that food is my problem with many health issues I have. Anyway, long story short:

I started seeing an allergist initially for this hand and foot rash I've had for a decade or longer. He was sure it was caused by a rare form of chronic athlete's foot (yeast) so we started treating that, it was working but not enough, then he put me on Diflucan liquid (due to my many intolerances and allergies that had cropped up since February. That is working miracles for my body and mental health! OMG!

I have had to cut many foods and addives from my diet including:

Milk - negative IgE test
Soy - negative IgE test
Wheat - positive IgE test
Gluten - untested (but I have bad reactions to all barley and rye as well
Lettuce - positive IgE test
Cocoa Bean - positive IgE test
Eggs - negative IgE test
black pepper - untested
added nitrates/nitrites - untested
Lawry's Garlic Salt with Parsley (possibly contaminated even though it has no allergen statement)
among others I haven't yet figure out yet in foods I used to eat.

Many foods right now that I used to eat I can't due to them tasting horrible! Possibly due to the Diflucan as a side effect or side effect of the cleaning my gut is undergoing.

Used to be allergic to apples, but rarely eat them now even though I grew out of that.

Confirmed skin allergies of:
ethylenediamine dihydrochloride
thiuram mix (used to make rubber and synthetic rubber products)
balsam of peru
sulfates (detergents, etc)
a tooth paste but the likely ingredient allergy is Tea Tree Oil
dog
dust mites
wingspan (which I can't find info online but the nurse said it was "tumbleweeds" which are plentiful here)

Unconfirmed but known product allergies:
nitrile gloves
jojoba oil
All Free & Clear laundry detergent! Like, seriously?!
-- I'm now forced to wash my clothing, bedding, towels/washcloths in pure castile soap that I use to shower with.
Walgreens version of Excedrin (awful digestive and mental problems)
all of my medications such as Lexapro (generic, tested negative on patch test), lisinopril (not tested but awful gasping for breath when waking up reactions, leg pain, can't fall asleep due to feeling like I'm drowning, etc)
Zyrtec (created by using ethylenediamine dihydrochloride)
any med with lactose in it (awful mental and bodily reactions)
tobacco smoke (cigar, cigarette but no serious problems other than nasal and skin problems)


Anyway. I fully feel your anxiety and I am finally calming down after being so panicked by LIFE due to all of my intolerances and allergies.

I wish I knew what to say to help you get through this. I seriously thought about finding a therapist but due to all the testing and doctor visits it is costing us a fortune even though I have adequate health insurance. I am miserable with the lack of variety of foods I can eat.

Oh FYI my blood IgE testing revealed NOTHING as positive. Yet skin testing proved wheat, lettuce and cocoa bean allergies. And my candida antibodies came back negative as well through the blood test. So I can't rely on blood tests anymore. At this point all I can do is listen to my body all the time, without fail.

I stopped eaten eggs because of the mental problems I was having with them and my issues surrounding eggs and breakfast vanished. But now I eat no breakfast, rarely lunch and I only eat dinner, which is not healthy but I have no choice at this point since I am not the one preparing most of the meals.

I had to stop eating gluten-free+dairy-free bread like Kinnikinnick and Udi because of the potato starch or flour and since cutting that out I am doing much better.

Surprisingly I am not craving food. My whole reaction to eating is much more like "it's for survival" than "ooh this tastes good! I want more!"

I CAN eat Hormel Natural Choice Uncured Bacon which is friggen awesome! I am a bacon-lover and finding this gem has been amazing. It has very few ingredients and it seems all of them I can have! Whew!

I had major anxiety and panic (though the panic was from bad food reactions themselves and not my own scared kind of panic).

I suggest you listen to your body. Try to isolate your foods and give 3-4 hours time between meals. I know it's a lot of work and most of that was done when you were very young, but I have had to do that to find out what is causing these issues.

I do know for a fact that food allergies (whether true IgE or not) can and do cause panic, hallucinations (hearing, visual, etc), unstable mood (think Bipolar) in me and I've read also in many others.

I bought the book Brain Allergies: The Psychonutrient and Magnetic Connections by Willam Philpott, Dwight Kalita, Linus Pauling (Foreword) and it has explained me to a T! I highly recommend it. The one I bought was the 2nd edition which was published in 2010.

I hope some of what I have said will be helpful to you and others who read this. I have no affiliation with that book, the authors or publisher, and am just a person who bought it looking for answers, and found them.

I wish you luck, and am praying for you to find healing in all areas of your life.


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