Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to airborne pollen during certain seasons of the year. This pollen can come from a variety of trees, flowers, weeds and grasses and patients may be allergic to one, some or many of the possible irritants.
Identical symptoms can be displayed due to an allergic reaction to other substances, such as mold, dust, animal dander and pollutants. Allergies are a very common health concern, but medical science is not sure what causes a person’s predisposition to developing substance sensitivity. Medicine has long speculated that heredity and environmental causes play a part in allergy development, but rarely do doctors promote the idea of psychosomatic involvement, despite overwhelming clinical evidence that it exists.
This article examines the role of the subconscious mind in the creation and escalation of allergic rhinitis.
The irritant causes a chemical reaction in the sensitized patient. Science knows that allergies come from an problem in the immune system. This problem is not a weakness or deficiency, but in fact, an over-active immune response.
Exposure to the irritant causes the patients body to produce an over abundance of antibodies, as if the body were under attack from some viral or bacterial infectant. These antibodies cause the body to release chemicals, called histamines, which work to fight off the invader with mucus production and other bodily reactions.
Allergic rhinitis is characterized by the following symptoms, although individual symptoms may vary considerably:
Symptoms will be worse during seasons when allergens are most active in the environment.
Testing should be done to ascertain the exact allergens for each patient. Knowing the substances that cause irritation is the first step in controlling symptoms.
There is strong evidence that allergic rhinitis is in fact a psychosomatic condition. There is no doubt that symptoms are real and experienced in the physical body. There is no doubt that certain substances do illicit these overactive immune responses in the physical body. However, the mind can come into play in 2 fascinating aspects during the allergic reaction:
First, the subconscious mind can control the autonomic system and influence the body’s sensitivity to certain substances. It is not the allergic reaction that is in doubt, but the cause of the actual reaction. If the mind chooses to sensitize the body to an allergen, then an allergic reaction will surely follow.
The second possible mind/body interaction is the power of suggestion and association. In this case the allergic reaction occurs and the mind perceives a connection to some substance or condition.
Therefore, in the future, whenever the body is subjected to this condition or substance, the mind will initiate symptoms through the power of psychological suggestion.
This is an example of a self-induced nocebo reaction, as well as a perceived trigger mechanism for the allergic reaction to occur. In essence, the patient believes exposure will cause a reaction and so it does.
I have suffered from allergies a few times in my life. I am not surprised by this, since I am susceptible to psychogenic pain syndromes. I am not allergic to anything specific per se (except penicillin) and have been tested to prove it. However, I have still suffered allergic reactions, including rhinitis and skin sensitivity several times in my life.
I am a firm believer that these physical reactions were caused through some psychological process. I can still get a red itchy spot on my skin when I am particularly mad on some occasions. It lasts for a few hours and disappears on its own.
I have witnessed hyper-allergic individuals who are extremely sensitive to a variety of allergens. Life is very difficult for these patients and they are extremely limited in what the can do. I have also witnessed some of these same individuals undergo hypnosis and then face exposure to their allergens. In every case, no reaction was suffered and the patient was videotaped to prove this to them after the session was over.
With evidence like this, it is easy to see the connection between the mind and the body when it comes to allergic sensitivity. Many patients benefit by learning how knowledge therapy can cure an allergic disposition in the same manner it can cure back pain.