Friday, November 23, 2007

More evidence of biological cause of mental illness

Is allergic rhinitis more frequent in young adults with extreme shyness?

A preliminary survey
IR Bell, ML Jasnoski, J Kagan and DS King Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts.

Previous studies suggest that social anxiety, allergies and distressed affect may be interrelated in some persons. For example, extremely introverted patients experience a poorer course and outcome of allergies as well as greater degrees of distressed affect such as depression and anxiety than do extraverts. Patients with affective disorders have a higher prevalence of atopic allergy than the general population; families of patients with panic disorder and major depression have the highest frequency of shy children. Preliminary investigation also indicate that behaviorally inhibited Caucasian children (initially shy and cautions in unfamiliar situations) and their families have more allergies, especially hay fever, than do uninhibited, socially outgoing children. The present survey evaluated the frequency of self-reported shyness. The most introverted subjects had significantly higher scores on self reports of depression, fearfulness, and fatigue, as well as a higher prevalence of hay fever. The data support the possibility of a distinct subgroup of shy individuals with concomitant vulnerability to specific allergies and affective disorders.

I think it's obvious - if you get a faulty gene and have to live with a chronic sickness like an allergy disorder - you are going to feel bad because you are sick all the time. It is not that hard to put two and two together. Biology, currently, is still an important factor in how it relates to your position in the social heirarchy.


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