Managing Anxiety and Depression with Chronic Hives

Chronic hives can have a negative impact on your mental health. Research shows that people with chronic hives are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Nearly 1 in 3 people with chronic hives have a mood disorder. Your treatment plan should address the emotional impact of hives, along with the physical symptoms.1-3

Some of the ways chronic hives affect your mental health include:4

  • Extremely itchy or painful skin
  • Disrupted sleep and fatigue
  • Unpredictable symptoms
  • Uncertainty about treatments
  • Avoiding social situations because of stigma
  • Loss of work productivity
  • Costs of healthcare

These factors can combine to cause negative emotions, such as embarrassment, loneliness, and helplessness. These often lead to anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression can interfere with daily life. They can also directly trigger symptoms of chronic hives.4

Fortunately, anxiety and depression can be treated in most cases. Talk to your doctor if you notice any symptoms of anxiety and depression.

What are some symptoms of anxiety?

Occasional feelings of anxiety are common. However, people with anxiety disorders have frequent and intense worries about normal situations. People often experience sudden episodes of intense anxiety (panic attacks).5

There are many types of anxiety disorders. For example, social anxiety is common for people with chronic hives. This is where you avoid social situations because of embarrassment. Common symptoms of anxiety include:4

  • Feeling nervous or restless
  • Having a sense of panic or doom
  • High heart rate
  • Fast breathing (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Avoiding things that trigger anxiety

Talk to your doctor if you notice that anxiety symptoms interfere with your life. Your worries may not go away on their own. They can get worse over time if you do not get help.

What are some symptoms of depression?

Depression is a continued feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you think and feel. It can also make it hard to do daily activities. People with depression usually experience symptoms most of the day and nearly every day. These symptoms include:6

  • Sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of energy
  • Low appetite
  • Trouble thinking and concentrating
  • Recurring thoughts of death or self-harm

Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms. You can also talk to a friend, loved one, or anyone you trust. Depression is not a weakness, but it may not go away on its own. Many people feel better with different treatment options.6

How can I manage anxiety and depression with lifestyle changes?

It is not always possible to prevent anxiety or depression. But taking care of your mental health can improve your emotional well-being. It also can help you manage physical symptoms of chronic hives. Here are some ways to support your mental health:5,6

  • Talk to a therapist to develop strategies to cope with negative emotions
  • Start a journal of your thoughts and feelings
  • Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet
  • Find hobbies or activities you enjoy
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs
  • Practice meditation and other stress-reducing activities
  • Talk to people you trust about your experiences
  • Join a chronic hives support group

For many people, taking your prescribed medicine and avoiding triggers can control the physical symptoms of chronic hives. Managing the physical discomfort of the disorder can help keep you mentally healthy. Talk to your doctor about trying other treatment options if current ones are not controlling your symptoms.4

How are anxiety and depression treated?

The main treatments for anxiety and depression are talk therapy and medicine. A combination of both may be the most beneficial.

Talk therapy is also known as psychotherapy or psychological counseling. It involves talking to a therapist to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective type of talk therapy for anxiety and depression. It teaches you how to reduce the impact of symptoms on your daily life.5,6

Some medicines can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. For example, buspirone (Buspar®) is often used to treat anxiety disorders. Drugs called antidepressants may treat anxiety and depression. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of these medicines.5,6

Do not be afraid to reach out for help. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. You may have a rare disorder, but you are never alone. Recognizing what anxiety and depression might look like can help you to get the treatment you need as soon as possible.

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Written by Matt Zajac │ Last reviewed: April 2022