There are many reasons one can have anxiety. Some of these reasons can be completely unexpected and unrelated to mental health conditions altogether. This type of anxiety is easy to misdiagnose, especially if there is a failure to consider other factors. But the question remains, can mold cause anxiety?
Mold is commonly overlooked as a factor in causing anxiety. Since mold causes different symptoms from person to person, it may not be your doctor's first thought. This is especially if there is no visible mold in the areas where you spend your time.
It may take some trial and error to figure out the source of whatever your symptoms are. Mold grows in surprising places and comes in several forms. Some of this mold is toxic, especially to people who are already sensitive to toxins.
What is Mold?
Moist environments are prime breeding grounds for what is known as mold. These fungi can grow in kitchens basements, bathrooms, and any place where residual moisture accumulates for a long time. Improper ventilation is the main thing that can cause mold, with floods and leaks much lower on the list.
After releasing unseen spores, mold spreads through the air, resting on the first available humid surface. The spores then multiply rapidly, taking advantage of high humidity and poor ventilation. In less than 24 hours, mold can take root and begin to increase in number.
Mold spores create harmful substances that may provoke immune responses in sensitive people. It is possible to inhale these spores, which may or may not have effects on your health. Those with allergies or lung conditions are more susceptible to symptoms of exposure to toxic mold.
If there is an unexplained musty smell around your house, it is highly likely to mold somewhere. Visible damage from water is another sign. Mold will grow within 24 hours if left alone, so it is critical to ensure it does not have the chance.
Genetics decides whether your body can eliminate the toxins from spores quickly. When exposed to elevated levels of toxins, some people cannot process them, or their bodies can even mishandle them entirely. Mold sickness is the result of having too many toxins in the body and no way for them to get out.
Unfortunately, mold sickness mimics other common conditions. Sharing symptoms with allergies makes it hard to differentiate, especially if you have allergies already. Other neurological conditions share traits, as well.
Symptoms of Mold Sickness
- Allergy Symptoms
- Watery eyes
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Eye redness
- Neurological Symptoms
- Joint pain
- Frequent flu and colds
- Weakness and fatigue
- Headaches and migraines
- Nerve paint that will not go away
- Brain fog, poor memory, difficulties focusing
- Muscle pains, aches, or cramps
- Dizziness or vertigo
It is even possible for mold to grow inside your sinuses or lungs after inhalation, causing severe respiratory infections and illnesses. Any damp environment is an invitation for mold to settle down, and it can even follow you home. If you work somewhere with a high potential for mold, it could be a reason for feeling ill.
The Psychological Effects of Mold
Since mold sickness shares symptoms with other conditions, diagnosis may take some time. However, psychological symptoms may leave you feeling helpless without treatment. While this may be frustrating, it may require some patience while your doctor eliminates other potential causes.
Researchers have gone to great lengths to try to understand the correlation between mold and mental health symptoms. In the case of mold sickness, inflammation can cross the blood-brain barrier and wreak havoc. Doctors also discovered that this inflammation could change white matter and injure the structure of gray matter.
These studies still require verification and more research, but the signs are certainly there. Mold can cause mental health complications, including anxiety and depression. Because of the other symptoms, mold causes, diagnosis, and treatment may be further away than you would like.
Treatment for Mold Sickness
Symptoms related to mold sickness may last from days to years, even if the mold is no longer present. The type of mold, your body's ability to eliminate toxins, and how prolonged exposure to the mold lasted all contribute to how long you may feel ill.
It is possible to treat mold sickness but only after the eradication of the source of mold. However, treatment is a slow and steady process. You must be careful with said treatment, for symptoms have the potential to get even worse.
Detoxifying your body is the first step to treatment. Natural binders like clay or charcoal trap and allow toxins to leave your body appropriately. Probiotics can also have this effect.
Next, antifungals come into play to ensure nothing is festering in your body. Your doctor may recommend diet changes, nutrient therapy, natural supplements and medicines, and environmental changes. Your body needs all the support it can get to recover and fix itself after mold ravages it.
Mold sickness is notorious for misdiagnosis since it shares symptoms with other conditions. However, it is more prevalent and problematic than it may sound at first. If left untreated, mold sickness can lead to severe complications.
Only about 25% of people are vulnerable to mold-based illnesses. This vulnerability is due to genetics and accounts for households having different reactions to the mold that is present. Your mental health can deteriorate due to the immune system responding to the inhalation of toxic spores, which is why the concern if mold can cause anxiety still is floating around today.
Repeated exposure to mold can exacerbate the symptoms you may already have. It is essential to account for your vulnerability and try to limit it as much as possible. Getting rid of any mold is the first step to feeling better, but it is not always that easy.
It might be helpful to hire professionals if the source of mold is not apparent. They will help to evaluate any hidden sources and proceed to eliminate them. This part is crucial since any presence of mold can hinder any progress in treatment.