winter-allergies-277x300Neurotransmitters have far reaching effects in the human body and take part in the regulation and control of many bodily functions and systems, including:

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Coordination
  • Memory
  • Focus
  • Concentration
  • Heart rate
  • Body temperature
  • Pleasure
  • Hunger
  • Learning
  • Arousal
  • Cravings
  • Binging Addiction
  • Pain sensation/tolerance
  • Digestion
  • Breathing
  • Breathing
  • Blood pressure
  • Kidney function
  • Hormone balance
  • Weight Behavior

One of the more interesting questions that I have received in regards to neurotransmitter balance is whether seasonal or chronic allergies can cause other symptoms of neurotransmitter imbalance, including trichotillomania. On the surface, these two things – allergies and trichotillomania – may not seem at all related. However, both are governed by neurotransmitters – allergies by histamine and trichotillomania by serotonin and the catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine) – which interact with one another.

Although allergies do not necessarily cause trichotillomania, the constant release and metabolism of histamine can alter neurotransmitter balance enough to exacerbate or create imbalances with dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine, which can then in turn alter serotonin levels. If the change in serotonin and/or dopamine levels progresses to a sufficient level, it is possible that symptoms of neurotransmitter imbalance will occur, including the increased urge to pull that is the hallmark of trichotillomania.