Teenagers with food allergies are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study reveals. The mothers of teenagers with food allergies are more likely than the kids themselves to report they are suffering from emotional and behavioural problems such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - a condition in which a person has trouble paying attention to and focusing on tasks, the findings showed."It's also clear that these problems are not just a phase, teens with food allergies are more likely to have mental health problems into adulthood," said Mark Ferro, assistant professor at the McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.In a study involving 1,300 children, the researchers found that about a third of teenagers with food allergies reported that they had emotional and behavioural problems. However, more than 46 percent of their mothers reported the problems faced by these children.When the same teenagers were 21 years old, 44 percent of those with food allergy reported emotional and behavioural problems, and they were twice as likely as their non-allergic peers to have symptoms of depression that had persisted from adolescence.
"Unfortunately, we don't know whether the teens with food allergy are less likely to report problems themselves, or whether the mothers are over-reporting problems, but we do know that health professionals should take in several people's perspectives when they are assessing these kinds of mental health problems," said Ferro.The study has been published online by medical journal Allergy.
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