Note: I'm not an allergist, so this piece should not be taken as medical advice. However, I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor that often works with those managing food allergies, as well as a parent of a child with a food allergy that has taken part in a clinical trial and follow up treatment. I've experienced the feelings that many parents feel while pursuing treatments, but also have the clinical background to know it's important to explore any and all emotions while pursuing food allergy treatments. Please always be sure to communicate all thoughts and feelings with your allergist or treatment team. [Article Updated July 2021]
When we think of pursuing food allergy treatments, hope tends to be the leading emotion. Hope for positive outcomes. Hope that pursuing the treatment will result in the ability to tolerate accidental, small or maybe even large amounts of the allergen. Hope that quality of life will improve once in maintenance.
However, the reality is that food allergy treatments don't always go as planned. With oral immunotherapy (OIT) for instance, some can tolerate doses, while others can't. In cases where OIT doesn't go smoothly, working with your allergist on adjustments, such as changes in dosing amounts, dosing foods, or time of doses may help resolve potential roadblocks.
But SOMETIMES, tweaks and changes don't resolve the issues. Whether it's for medical reasons or due to psychological barriers, sometimes food allergy treatments come to a screeching halt. Therefore, it's no surprise that some of the emotions that may follow this scenario are...
It's these less popular emotions I'd like to explore. I'm fully aware that this piece may be encouraging you to visit thoughts and feelings that may feel better staying put, stuffed down deep inside. While exploring these emotions may make you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, it's important to process them, as they themselves can create food allergy treatment roadblocks if left unchecked. Read through some of the thoughts and feelings below to help identify if any have been involved in your journey so that you can process them and move forward.
*NOTE: While the content below is helpful in exploring thoughts and feelings, please be sure to always discuss any treatment-related thoughts, feelings, decisions, or potential roadblocks you're experiencing with your allergist or treatment team.*
Guilt may come in two forms: Guilt for not pursuing a food allergy treatment, and guilt for pursuing a food allergy treatment. Let's explore both separately.
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