Chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU), or chronic hives, is a condition that causes itchy, round bumps to appear on your skin for no apparent reason. The skin may be blotchy and look like a rash during flares.

While chronic hives may seem to only cause physical symptoms, they can also affect your mental health. The discomfort and appearance of the condition can be difficult to cope with. Plus, stress can be a trigger for CIU and worsen your symptoms.

Research from 2006 shows that people with chronic hives can benefit from a treatment plan that addresses the emotional impact of the condition, as well as the physical symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about the link between chronic hives and mental health, along with ways to support your emotional well-being.

There are a few ways mental health is connected with hives.

On the one hand, emotions can cause a flare of hives and make symptoms worse. Stress, in particular, is known to exacerbate hives.

CIU can also have a negative impact on your mental health.

In a 2019 study, researchers found that people living with chronic hives were more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety than those without the condition.

It echoed the 2006 study mentioned earlier, which found that there were higher rates of depression in people with chronic hives compared to the general population.

In a 2019 review of 25 studies, researchers found that nearly 1 in 3 people with chronic hives had an underlying psychiatric disorder. However, it was unclear whether the psychological symptoms came before or after the hives, so more research is needed to understand the relationship between the conditions.

The bottom line, however, is that you’re not alone if you feel depressed, anxious, or stressed while living with chronic hives.

When you’re living with chronic hives, taking care of your mental health is an important part of your overall treatment. Here are some ways to boost your emotional well-being.

1. Seek therapy

Meeting with a mental health professional can provide a safe, judgment-free space to work through stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions related to your hives.

A therapist, counselor, or another trained specialist will listen to your concerns and help you developed personalized strategies to improve your mental health.

2. Journaling

You can support your mental health right in your own home through journaling. Journaling may help:

  • lower stress
  • soothe anxiety
  • manage depression

Traditionally, journaling involves writing down your thoughts and feelings using pen and paper. But journaling online may be just as effective, according to research from 2018, so try out different techniques until you find one that works for you.

3. Adopt a pet

While not a solution for everyone, adopting an animal can be beneficial to your emotional well-being.

Here are just a few of the mental health benefits of having a pet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Mental Health America:

  • less loneliness
  • less anxiety
  • reduced feelings of depression
  • lower stress levels
  • more opportunities to socialize

Before adding a furry friend to your family, make sure to consider whether you’re able to devote the time and money necessary to take care of an animal.

You should also avoid adopting animals that trigger an allergic reaction, as that could worsen your hives.

If possible, spend some time around an animal you’re considering adopting to make sure it doesn’t trigger your symptoms.

4. Get more exercise

Moving your body regularly can offer a range of benefits for your mental health. It can help your body produce natural chemicals called endorphins that can boost your mood.

According to a 2008 meta-analysis, those who exercised showed greater reductions in anxiety than those in no-treatment groups.

Exercising regularly can also:

  • decrease tension
  • improve sleep
  • boost your self-esteem

However, keep in mind that vigorous exercise that makes you sweat can irritate or bring on more hives.

Low-impact exercises, like yoga, swimming, and cycling, can help you reap the mental health benefits of physical activity without worsening your hives.

5. Do things you enjoy

It might sound obvious, but doing things that make you happy can help you manage negative emotions, according to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.

For some, that might mean connecting with a loved one. Others are drawn to physical activities, such as dancing or cycling. Creative pursuits, like painting, drawing, or knitting, can also boost happiness.

No matter which passion sparks joy for you, try to make time for it on a regular basis.

6. Meditate

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation can have a positive impact on mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and stress.

Meditation can be practiced in a variety of ways, so if you don’t have success with one style, consider trying others. There are also a number of apps that can help you learn how to meditate.

7. Connect with loved ones

You don’t have to manage negative emotions on your own.

If you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed, consider connecting with someone you trust. Simply talking about what you’re going through with someone who cares can provide some relief.

CIU causes itchy, round bumps on your skin for no known reason.

The condition can impact your mental health, as well, so it’s important to find ways to take care of your emotional well-being.

Consider speaking with a therapist or loved ones for support. Getting regular exercise, adopting a pet, meditating, and pursuing your favorite hobbies can also make a big difference in your mental health.