Chronic Hives and Depression: A Direct Link

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By Kayla (Chronic Hive Sufferer)

Can you imagine living with a debilitating disease that can strike at any moment for no reason, leaving you covered in itchy, painful hives, welts, and swelling so serious that it forces you to go to the hospital? This is what I have lived with every day of my life since the age of 6 – I live with CIU, also known as Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria. This disease has caused me emotional and physical pain, forced me to drop out of university, and causes me to always be fatigued.

Living with CIU, I always have to plan my life around my disease and I must always be prepared for the worst. It is difficult to live day to day with CIU because I cannot prevent the disfiguring reaction from occurring, because it is not an allergic reaction which is usually what happens when hives are present on the skin. I can only take steps to eliminate triggers that make my hives worse

Personally, I eat a very clean diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, and try and keep as active as my hives will permit me. I try to avoid certain foods such as strawberries, large amounts of citrus, gluten, dairy and nut products. Stress and heat are large factors in my reactions as well, so I try to limit my exposure to the sun or at least take breaks in air conditioned rooms in between sun exposure, while of course wearing LOTS of sunscreen. Dealing with a sunburn while having an outbreak is unbearable, very dangerous and required me to be hospitalized in the past.

Stress is very hard to avoid, it is a vicious cycle in the life of a CIU patient. The hives cause me to miss work or school, make relationships difficult, and isolate me, causing MORE stress which makes the hives worse. I try my best to take 5 minutes each day to do some deep breathing to calm my nerves. I also find yoga really helpful because it is physical activity and it is great for the soul, body, and mind.

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Related Post: 8 Ways to Relieve Stress in Children With Eczema and Other Health Conditions

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CIU can really affect a patient emotionally and make them feel isolated, so if you are a patient, I encourage you to be proactive and get in touch with other patients, seek medical advice and psychological help, as it has helped me a significant amount.

Relief for Chronic Hives

ILW Recommends: For chronic itchy skin and hives, think about healing from within starting with an elimination diet to determine if food is triggering a reaction.

For quick relief, try this aloe spray which will soothe the itch and the need to scratch.

You can also try at home acupressure – there are some points on the body that can provide wonderful itch relief and fast!

 

Burden of Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU) (CNW Group/Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.)

12 Comments

  1. Amber on December 3, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Hello I am trying to find a way to contact the person who wrote this. I am running into. The same situation and would love to talk to someone who is in the situation since I can never find someone

    • Jennifer Roberge on December 9, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Hi Amber – I’ll contact you via email with more information.

  2. Sarah J. Stevenson (@aquafortis) on March 5, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Always nice to know one is not alone. 🙂 I’ve had stress-induced (I’m fairly sure) CIU for about 13 years now, off and on. It makes you feel like you have a mystery disease, and the unpredictability is one of the worst parts. (Along with the self-consciousness and the itching and the seemingly inevitable course of Prednisone…)

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  3. Deinne on June 14, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for this. I’ve been experiencing hives attack for almost a minth already. Please share additional remedies soon.

  4. Ceilidh on July 3, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    I was recently diagnosed with CIU and prior to the diagnosis had never heard of the affliction before. It makes me feel better to know that other people can relate to what I am going through. It is debilitating and frustrating, especially during the intense and unpredictable flare-ups.

  5. ps on July 31, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I have suddenly started erupting in hives. Antihistamines help but they keep returning. I have suffered from clinical depression for more than 15 years and, while it is being treated, I lost my wife of 23 years in December which has added considerably to the problem. I am beginning to suspect that the hives are stress and depression related. Any further information on this would be appreciated.

    • Jennifer Roberge on July 31, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Hi PS – Thank you for sharing your story with us! I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. Yes, stress and depression can surely take it’s toll on the body and manifest in hives. Easier said than done, I know, but it would be beneficial for you to looking in reducing your stress. Some ideas are meditation, yoga, mindfulness. And definitely speak to a professional about your depression. Dietary modifications like cleaning up your diet and only eating whole foods and possibly eliminating diary and gluten have been show to help those battling depression. Please speak to your physician about these ideas.

  6. Laura Auger on December 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Hi
    I suffer with this and i cannot find anything that helps. it really brings me down.
    A lot of people recommend xolair but im a little reserved and not sure the doctor wants to refer me for them.

  7. Lalanie Francis on January 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Hi,
    I’ve suffered from chronic hives for the last 8 years and I know with certainty that it was triggered by large amounts of stress in my life that presently continues to be a huge factor in my life. I’ve had moments over the years where my outbreaks were lessened and they were usually periods where I had relatively less stress. I take 10 mg of Cetrrizine every day and as long as I keep it in my system I do okay. Sometimes it becomes less effective and then I switch to Fexofenadine until I think I can retry the Ceterezine. Pressure points are where it is the worst and I try to avoid tighter fitting clothing. I have an overactive mind at night and don’t sleep well. The constant stress is always at the forefront. My mood worsens or lessens the symptoms. Stress is debilitating and depressing but I’ve never been one for meds so I try to only take an allergy pill and limit certain foods and drinks. I’m presently overweight and when I’ve lost weight in the past, my symptoms improve but never fully go away. All in all my symptoms improve when I have less stress which has seemed to be my largest trigger. I’d appreciate any advice. I’ve been told to see an allergist.

    • Jennifer Roberge on January 9, 2018 at 7:48 am

      Hi Lalanie – Stress is a tough one – we all experience it, but our bodies handle it in different ways. Have you looked into “Mindfulness?” Do you do any type of medication or yoga? How much sleep are you getting? Sometimes just getting a full 8-9 hours of sleep with zero interruptions can hugely reduce our stress levels. Factors that improve our sleep are not watching tv before bed or doing anything in front of a screen and not eating after 6pm. If it’s been recommended for you to see an allergist, you definitely should. It can’t hurt.

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