The Psychosocial needs of food allergy sufferers and their families addressed at AAAAI conference

Those of us who live and deal with food allergies on a daily basis know first-hand the real impact of living with food allergies and it goes well beyond the physical symptoms experienced by the sufferer.

The perpetual vigilance required by parents and caregivers to keep a food allergy sufferer safe often creates a psychosocial dynamic that needs to be addressed by clinicians.

During a presentation at the 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting in San Diego this week, Jennifer Moyer Darr, MSW, LCSW and Melissa Korenblat-Hanin, ACSW, LCSW, focused on this issue, claiming that treating the psychosocial needs of patients with food allergies can actually influence medical outcomes.

In her presentation Jennifer Moyer Darr MSW, said  dealing with food allergies may foster anxiety, fear, depression and social isolation. For many parents, the persistent, underlying, yet unspoken fear is that their child might die.

Just having parental anxiety acknowledged by the practitioner “goes a long way” to connecting with the families, Jennifer explained during the presentation.

The speakers urged clinicians to treat the psychosocial needs surrounding food allergies as well as the physical ones.

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