As a mental health worker, I understand that if you’ve experienced a traumatic event, like anaphylaxis, you will have a deeply emotional response to that event. As an Allergic Girl, who's also a mental health worker, I believe that there's an extra danger: if that emotional response goes unchecked and lingers, becoming disruptive to life’s normal functioning, that trauma can easily slip into PTSD. I hypothesized that this existed for those in the food allergic community who have experienced an anaphylactic event in my forthcoming book, Allergic Girl.
So, I was very excited to see this study abstract published recently:
CONCLUSIONS: People could develop PTSD and psychiatric comorbidity symptoms after their experience of anaphylactic shock. The way they coped with anaphylactic shock was affected by the severity of these symptoms. Past traumatic life events had a limited role to play in influencing outcomes.
More studies need to be done: this was a small sample (94 people), conducted through surveys that were mailed in but I’m glad to see this beginning – a look at the very real emotional consequence from severe and life threatening responses to food and how if left unchecked can interfere with normal life functioning.
If you think you fall into this category or have noticed typical symptoms, reach out to a mental health professional trained in dealing with trauma.