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Anxiety And Celiac Disease
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I get horrible pain and diarrhea like many after eating gluten by accident and anything with preseratives. Then I get unbeleivable anxiety because someone is usually waiting for me.

Last week I had all these people coming over for a barbecue and got very ill a half an hour after them arriving. I was so sick I couldn't make it down and my guests felt bad and left. I felt so embarassed.

I would like to take a medication for anxiety but I also don't tolerate many medications very well and have problems with corn.

Can anyone relate to this and does anyone have any suggestions for things that can help with anxiety?

Fraggle in Canada

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Whenever I get sick (still getting symptoms, but no accidents), I get really emotional....and during school, with tests, homework, and notes to miss, I got anxious. When I was sick, I was anxious about missing stuff, and when I wasn't sick, (especially before being diagnosed) I got anxious about when I might get sick again.... <_< ....I guess the only thing you can do (besides finding some medicine) would be to either try to change your attitude (in my case, "if I miss notes, I miss them...there's nothing I can do about it so there's no point in getting anxious over it") or trying some relaxation techniques: they have tapes with speaking that are supposed to calm you down, and then of course, relaxing music, or something.....I don't know.

-celiac3270

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Sorry to haer you're having so much trouble. How long have you been gluten free? I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but it sounds like you are having frequent gluten accidents and anxiety as a result...I wouldn't be hosting parties centered around food until I got my diet straightened out--way too easy to get contaminated! Don't expect that of yourself! I would print out the gluten-free foodlist on:

http://homepage.mac.com/sholland/celiac/GFfoodlist.pdf

It's 49 pages of mainstream gluten-free foods. I would also refer to the one on this site--go to "site index" and click on safe and forbidden foods. Be as diligent as possible about NOT ingesting gluten and you won't need to worry about having an anxiety attack. The priority for you right now, and for ANY celiac keeping gluten-free, is their diet, not worrying about what other people are going to think. The symptoms aren't the olny reason we keep off gluten, it's the damage we do to our guts--damage that can lead to nasty things like cancer. Let your guests wait! There is a transition period after diagnosis--nobody just lands right back into their "normal" life going to restaurants and parties like nothing happened. Give yourself a break, you're only human! It took me a little time before I could figure out how I was going to handle myself in social situations around food. Everyone on this message board has lots of really helpful advice about this. There is definately no need to withdraw from social activity, but you might want to do things like eat before you go to a party, or use the "101 gluten-free Restaurants" on the Silly Yaks website. You CAN do this, and without anti-anxiety drugs. Try eliminating the source of the anxiety first. Hang in there! Every day is a new beginnning...

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You might look into using talk therapy to address the anxiety since you don't really want to take medication (and I don't blame you). But it may help you get to the point where you don't feel so anxious and embarassed.

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Hey Fraggle:

I don't believe your 'anxiety' is a disease which needs a 'drug' treatment, but rather a logical reaction to the circumstances and your beliefs. Unfortunately, drug companies tell us that we need 'antianxiety' meds to deal with normal emotions, so they can market their drugs. <_< I suspect your 'anxiety' comes from fear that other people with get upset with you (while waiting for you to return to the party) and leave (which you stated actually happened). A 'deeper' fear may be that people (your guests) won't like you anymore. Since our emotions (like fear, sadness, anger) are NORMAL nonverbal signs that we need to pay attention to our thoughts or circumstances, perhaps you could rethink the dinner party situation. I really liked what Dana said about not taking risks with foods, i.e., not hosting a dinner party featuring gluten containing foods risking cross-contamination.

However, I believe the celiac 'healing' process requires that we really focus on our OWN needs, rather than other people's needs. We NEED to absolutely avoid consuming gluten containing foods. So you might either consider ways to prevent 'accidental contamination' from your dinner parties OR rethink your expectations of yourself as a 'hostess'. Do your dinner party guests know about your celiac situation, that you will get very ill from any cross contamination, that you may have reactions from accidental gluten ingestion that send you to the bathroom indefinitely? If you are not comfortable with telling your friends/guests about your need to prevent contamination and your possible reactions to accidents (which may remove you from their presence indefinitely), THEN you might consider only featuring gluten free foods at your parties. If your are more concerned about the needs of your guests, esp. to feature 'regular' (gluten containing) versions of THEIR favorites, than you are concerned about possible cross-contamination, you continually risk accidental gluten ingestion which then makes you unavailable as their hostess anyway. Perhaps you could limit your guests to understanding, supportive friends who know about your celiac limitation and/or will try gluten free versions of foods. If you need to entertain people to whom you don't want to reveal your gluten-free requirements, perhaps you could consider restaurant dinner parties (separate checkes, separate orders) until you become familiar enough with gluten free cooking that you can host gluten free food parties.

Perhaps we ultimately need to choose between pleasing other people (by ignoring our own needs for 'safe' foods) and pleasing ourselves (by scrutinizing our food choices and eating situations to prevent cross contamination). I have given up attending 'potlucks' and will decline dinner party invitations to situations where I don't have control over my food. The excruciating cramping pains I suffer from my every 'gluten' slip makes the choice of self-care over pleasing others very easy for me. ;)

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Before being diagnosed I was a very out there person, even when sick. I was in High School and did all the water sports, never missed a day of school, and went out to many concerts. I was always sick but just had to stop to the bathroom or take something for the symptoms and all (but figured I was normal). Then, once I found out and went glutenfree I changed. I wasn't sick anymore (except for the accident here and there) and it was so odd not being sick and I just got so scared (and am still that way) that what if it all comes back. I stopped going out (only went to class then home), stopped going to shows, seeing friends, even going to the grocery. Sitting in class was a nightmare and I couldn't deal with it. My doctor gave me two different anti-anxiety pills (one for big things and one for everyday) and I began to see a therapist. The therapist helped a lot. I don't think it's bad to take the medication, I did at first mind you. I still take it now and it helps so much. I can be myself and everything. I decided to stop taking it a few months back and it was so bad. I still felt all that anxiety and it just helps me to take it. I know I won't be on it always but for right now it helps me be more how I am! It's not for some people but it worked for me. I would make sure to see a therapist though, they are awesome!

Kristina

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I agree that antianxiety meds may help SOME people, but I really second Kristina's suggestion to see a therapist. I just dislike doctors who prescribe antianxiety or antidepressant meds without requiring their patients see therapists to talk about the beliefs/thought processes which influence the scared or sad feelings. Dispensing meds without requiring 'talking' therapy seems like putting a broken arm in a cast and prescribing pain meds without first setting the bones back into the proper position. I also dislike drug companies which don't reveal all the possible side effects of their drugs and discount disturbing side effects by stating those only 'rarely' occur.

I can relate to that fear "that what if it all comes back". I'm STILL struggling with accidental gluten ingestion from 'mystery' ingredients, supposedly OK products (like my toothpaste) and cross-contamination even in my own kitchen. Every time I have a 'slip', the excruciating pain DOES feel like it's "all coming back again". Then I begin to feel hopeless about every recovering from the pain and embarassing symptoms. However, on 'good days' when I have several hours without pain (or even a whole day here and there), I realize that I'm still learning, that the gluten free approach WILL eventually resolve my symptoms, and that the pain just motivates me to do more 'gluten sleuthing' and being more careful about possible cross-contamination.

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if your doctor thinks that temporary meds might help, though, there are some old-style drug stores out there that will mix your meds for you... aka you can have anti-anxiety drugs made for you without corn (just so you know this is an option).

also, there are internet drug stores that will do this too.

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