Does Itching Cause Anxiety or Does Anxiety Cause Itching?
Last updated: September 2020
Several months ago, I had the displeasure of going to see an immunologist, after my rheumatologist was unable to provide an answer for some severe itching attacks I was having.
Because there was no clear food or medication trigger, my rheumatologist felt it would be best for me to see someone else.
At the time, these attacks were causing me great distress and anxiety because they would come on, and I would take two over-the-counter allergy pills, and the attacks would last for hours. To the point where all I could do was sit and scratch.
The itching seemed to happen quite a lot after I showered, so I also became somewhat fearful of showering.
I used to have itching on and off since I’ve been sick, but the most recent attacks got precipitously worse after my dad died.
But there were no clear patterns for why they were happening.
I have sensitive skin, so I am very picky about the products I use, and tend to use things that I know won’t make me itch. So that wasn’t it.
To be honest, these attacks were so random that I thought maybe I had developed an allergy to the air.
I know enough, though, to know that my crazy, overactive immune system was reacting to something, but what that was, I couldn’t figure out.
Neither could my rheumatologist…
And neither could the immunologist...
There was never a visible rash that precipitated the itching, although sometimes I would get little red, pimple-like bumps that would sort of blister after I started scratching.
I had told the immunologist that the reason I had decided to see someone about this issue is because the attacks were really starting to impact my life and were making me very anxious.
She threw it back at me and said something like Does the itching cause you anxiety or does your anxiety cause itching?
Oh, haha, I know what she was trying to do there. She was trying to tell me that it’s all in my head.
It's not in my head
Which I’m telling you, it’s not.
Ultimately, the immunologist didn’t really help me that much.
She didn’t order any lab work, she didn’t do any skin tests, and she didn’t really even examine me.
She suggested I take an allergy pill every day for a month to see if that helped. While it did, it still doesn’t get me any closer to knowing what, if anything, I can do to prevent future attacks.
And I have to say, that was one of the most demoralizing doctors’ appointments I’ve ever been to in all my years of being sick.
I haven’t had a doctor question the validity of my symptoms in a long time, and quite frankly, I don’t really appreciate it.
I won’t be back to see this doctor, and I hope that the itching attacks are kept at bay.
If they are, I don’t know what will make them stop. And if they aren’t, I won’t know what to do to make them stop.
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