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L Herbert and A DunnGalvin
Abstract
Psychosocial concerns, such as anxiety and decreased quality of life, are common among patients with food allergy and their caregivers. There is evidence that childhood anxiety disorders are at the outset of a “cascade of psychopathology,” highlighting the importance of early recognition and treatment. Provision of psychological services is needed, beginning with a thorough assessment of food allergy-related quality of life, subjective perceptions of food allergy severity, and environmental factors. Implementation of patient-centered cognitive-behavioral, medical coping, and motivational interviewing strategies may promote healthy food allergy management and adjustment. We present 2 cases, a mother of a young child with food allergy and a young boy preparing for oral immunotherapy treatment, who received psychological services for food allergy-related anxiety. For each, treatment resulted in decreased anxiety and improved food allergy management/oral immunotherapy treatment engagement. We also discuss unmet food allergy-related psychosocial needs, including the lack of food allergy-specific anxiety measures, psychosocial domains that warrant investigation (trauma, feeding concerns), development of supportive interventions for patients engaging in allergen immunotherapy, and the lack of adequate mental health providers with food allergy expertise.
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