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Panic Attacks & Gluten
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Hello,

First of all, I just have to say that I love being a part of this forum and learning SO many things about Celiac Disease that I never knew before (even though I've had it my whole life). All of your posts have been an inspiration to me in expanding my knowledge about my own tolerances, diet, etc. Thank you so much.

But now I would like to start a topic. I know many members on this forum get more symptoms along the lines of GI, but I'm actually asymptomatic (on surface, anyway) in that area. What I AM very sensitive to is cognitive/mental ability...if I'm glutened, one of the symptoms I know I've been suffering along steadily is panic attacks. Sometimes they're minor and I can easily control them, but other times I just can't it...they take control of me instead.

I just eliminated something from my diet which it turns out I cannot have, but thought I originally could (I had no idea that mainstream cereals contained malt or malt flavoring in them!). It's been 3 days and I'm already feeling more alert and focused than I have in a very long time, but I still had a bad panic attack today. And yesterday, I was supposed to be somewhere for school but couldn't go b/c I had a BAD panic attack right before I got in the door. My body was shaking, I couldn't see straight, I was still paniky...my friend had to drive me back to campus!

So, here are my questions...

1) Does anyone on here seem to notice a correlation between panic attacks (if they have them) and getting glutened?

2) If so, then how long does it take for the panic attacks to go away? I don't expect them to go away overnight, but I would like some insight. I'm a college student with a very busy, rigid schedule, and I can't keep on getting spontaneous panic attacks that are bad enough to send me home or excuse myself. And, if the problem is gluten (which I feel that it is), than I'm not about take medication for it and mess up my system more.

Thank you to all of you once again for your support...

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According to Dr. Rodney Ford's theories, who has written several books sold on this site and contributes articles on here as well, the primary place of damage with gluten sensitivity IS THE BRAIN. So I'm sure he would say a resounding YES to your questions.

The brain and nervous system will heal, but does so much more slowly than most other body tissues. So in my opinion, the more careful you are to avoid ALL gluten ALL the time, the faster your nervous system damage should heal. Panic attacks are truly AWFUL. I'm so sorry you have to deal with them. :( But some people on this site have shared that theirs have either lessened greatly or gone away entirely after being faithfully gluten free. So there is definite hope. :) Anxiety is the presenting symptom in many gluten sensitive people, so it stands to reason that eliminating gluten should greatly improve that situation.

I would suggest that you make sure you don't have additional food sensitivities, however. Some people who are truly gluten free, but still having symptoms, have found they were also sensitive to dairy or soy or something major like that. Once they were removed as well, true progress was finally made.

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Thank you so much for your post...I hope they get better too. <_< I didn't have one today but felt like I was on the verge of having one all day...

But some people on this site have shared that theirs have either lessened greatly or gone away entirely after being faithfully gluten free. So there is definite hope. smile.gif Anxiety is the presenting symptom in many gluten sensitive people, so it stands to reason that eliminating gluten should greatly improve that situation.

I'll have to look around on this site for other posts about this b/c I'm very curious as to what different people have to say. And also because I don't want this to be a repeat thread for anyone...haha

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Yes, I get panic attacks when I'm glutened. Fortunately I have learned to talk myself out of them fairly quickly. And they go away after a day or two.

Flo

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Hi LadyC,

Glad you found us! I suffered from panic attacks for years before being diagnosed. All those years, I had no idea that it was something I was eating--and for a long time, I didn't even know what the panic attacks themselves were.

I would get a racing heart, feel overheated, breathless, and nauseous, and had an overwhelming feeling of fear and panic. Even on a good day, I was anxious and as I got sicker I began to have depression.

The good news is that since I've been gluten-free, I have not had a full-blown panic attack. There were several near-misses at the beginning--and even a couple later on, but I was able to calm myself enough to get through the situations.

As for the anxiety itself, I noticed a distinct change for the better after 18 months gluten-free. From that point, the depression was gone and the anxiety was and continues to be much, much better. If I'm accidently glutened (by cross contamination), I still (after over 3 years) get anxious, irritable, and have a bit of trouble finding words--sort of an overall brain fog.

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Hi there,

Well, you're not alone. I've been suffering from anxiety, mild depression and occasional panic attacks for a few years. I also have GI problems. My mother and sister both have Celiac, and my sis went through a horrible experience with severe anxiety that only got worse with meds and gluten. Now that she's on the gluten-free diet and off her meds, she's doing so much better. I havn't been diagnosed yet, but I decided to go gluten-free a few weeks ago to see if i'd feel any better. I do! I've felt a noticeable difference, but I havn't been super strict, and have tested my reactions to gluten. Yeah, i get stomach problems a bit, but the big symptom i've noticed is brain fog and anxiety. I'll be fine for days, then -so far the day after I eat gluten- I've had some fairly serious attacks, one of them at work, and I keep freaking out at home for no reason. Of course, there's a lot of stuff going on in my life, but I believe quite strongly that gluten makes it a lot worse.

so, it will be interesting to see, for both of us, how long it will take to feel better. All I know, is no more gluten for me (good bye beer... sniff sniff...)

Peg

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Hi LadyC,

I have been Dx with the equivalent of Panick Attack in French speaking countries "Spasmophilie". The word spasmophilie comes from spams as the person who has it gets neuromuscular spams. They also usually say that North-Americans don't recognize "spasmophilie" and don't treat it as an illness. And this is why I want to take this opportunity to talk to fellow panick attack sufferers...what did your doctor do when you had your first attacks? Did you get treatments? In France, they say only 5% of all panick attack/spasmophilie cases get a good diagnostic and treated. Others usually are thought to be imaginary ill people or treated for different mental related illnesses. Thanks God, I had the major crisis/the tetany where all the body gets a reaction and all your muscles are tensed even in your eyes. It is very impressive and I received an injection of minerals to come back to my normal state. I later learned with the doctor that I had carences (maybe deficience is the English word?). He told me it was amazing I didnt break a bone...but that was over 20 years and I was a teen. I wonder if doctors still think that bones and calcium are that much related. I was born in Africa so maybe I just had some good bone consititution with all the sun :)

Anyway, today I check my book about spasmophilie/panick attacks and many of the symptoms for celiac are there and making me wonder if I am just back to a more active panick attack/spasmo.

Now, maybe your panick attacks are not treated here in America (or these French doctors were lying) but as far as I am concerned I got treated for deficiencies. I learned to watch my calcium, magnesium and a healthy lifestyle with normal meal times and sleep time helped.

Now, to answer to your question after that long detour, I don't know if my panick attacks are triggered by gluten. Btw, the first panic attack was a strange one so I guess that when I have other attacks I don't even realize or I dont always recognize them as attacks. I sometimes feel shaky, have palpitation etc.

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Going gluten free erased my panic attacks and anxiety completely, it was a miracle. I have no doubt in my mind that gluten affects psychological well being.

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My cousin is not diagnosed celiac but has suspected gluten sensitivities and a son with mild failure to thrive. She gets panic attacks when she eats... I think there is a good likelihood the gluten could be related.

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This is absolutely fascinating to me. I have had panic attacks for about 10 years. I've been gluten free now off and on for 1 year. I am staying gluten free this time and I will watch and see if the anxiety lessons! Fascinating!

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I too have a similar story. In addition to having panic attacks when I was consuming gluten, I also had a fear of flying which magically seemed to disappear.

I remember when I did have the panic attacks it was as if my body was overreacting. My mind would be mentally more calm than my physical body. Since going gluten-free my panic attacks have completely disappeared. I also do not worry nearly as much as I used to about stupid stuff.

As you can already see, you're definitely not alone. It's amazing what an impact gluten can have on the brain.

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WOW...is this ever interesting. I would not call what I get panic attacks, however, I get what we are now calling "episodes", as I get lightheaded, sick to my stomach, dizzy and cannot stand up, I have to go to bed and sleep it off, it is kind of like a stupor. When I wake up, then I am fine or on my way to it, need a little time to recover. My friend and I have thought, after looking back over the years, these were caused by gluten and once I went gluten-free, they disappeared, like for FIVE years now. Recently, I ate regular oatmeal twice and had two "episodes" and all I can think of is that it must have been the oatmeal as I eat totally gluten-free otherwise. I don't even have celiac disease, or I don't think so, I am gluten intolerant/sensitive. I was tested through Dr. Fine at his operation down there in Texas and they said I have the gene. I passed it along to my granddaughter, who is almost 11 and was diagnosed when she was one. She has it bad. She gets violently sick if she gets gluten. Normally I don't, if I have just a touch of it. Thanks to the person that started this thread, it has been very interesting.

Barbara

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My teenage son was having panic attacks pretty regularly for a while. They have gone away since going gluten-free, but it took some time. I'm thinking a few months before they stopped altogether.

But he hasn't had one for a long time, now. He's only been gluten-free for about 20 months, and I'm pretty vigilant, so he hasn't had a serious " glutening" for a long time. I'm not sure whether he would have one again if he got seriously glutened.

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I had anxiety all my life, depression, paranoia, i worried all the time, had phobias, and panic attacks. After I took gluten out of my diet ALL of these mental problems disappeared like magic...It was as if I was an entirely new person with less limits and new found mental stability with NO medications ONLY no wheat!

When i get gluten by accident i get extremely angry, my friends and i call it "wheat anger", or "pws" (not pms) post wheat syndrome.

Here's how mine goes like clockwork... I get contaminated food, my stomach burns within 15-30 min then i get super tired, by the next day i barely can get out of bed i have joint pain, muscle pain, muscle weakness, my entire body hurts i get bad sinusitis headaches, my allergies go nuts my brain doesn't seem to function correctly, i have problems concentrating and remembering words i want to say...

as all the goes away and i start to feel better... about 3 days later i have super out of nowhere anger for no reason, everything and everyone pisses me off and i feel like i want to punch things, i don't want people around me, i feel closed in, i have anxiety and am jumpy and moody . I just try to kinda joke it away with my boyfriend, he knows and understands whats up and i try really really hard not to be personally mean to him or anyone else because i know it's the gluten making me feel this way. Then as fast as it comes it disappears 12-24 hours later out of nowhere and i am completely the opposite super happy, goofy and normal again.

I believe it is a total chemical reaction in my brain from the wheat. It is like this every single time i get glutened like clockwork.

If you still have anxiety you may be getting cross contaminated food. I eat no cereal unless it says gluten free (usually in the organic section) the only large company cereal i know of that s gluten free is general mills rice chex (must say gluten free on the box) and as of june 1st they will have other flavors gluten free but the package must say so... I actually don't eat out often at all because it seemed i was getting contaminated food no matter how careful i was. I research everything i eat as well as resturants, medications and beauty products. I recently was unknowingly being glutened by birth control pills, the active ones had no gluten but the inactive ones did which i didn't take but them beings packaged together contaminated the active pills and i progressively got sicker and sicker and moodier and moodier and finally figured it out... and changed pills.

Wheat is in everything... The best thing to do is only eat things you are sure of for awhile like fruits, vegetables, plain meats you prepare yourself (with no sauces unless it says gluten free) and see how your anxiety changes. You may just need to do more research about what you can and cannot eat. You may also need tested for malabsorption of vitamins and nutrients that can cause depression, anxiety, body pain etc.

good luck!

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WOW...is this ever interesting. I would not call what I get panic attacks, however, I get what we are now calling "episodes", as I get lightheaded, sick to my stomach, dizzy and cannot stand up, I have to go to bed and sleep it off, it is kind of like a stupor. When I wake up, then I am fine or on my way to it, need a little time to recover. My friend and I have thought, after looking back over the years, these were caused by gluten and once I went gluten-free, they disappeared, like for FIVE years now. Recently, I ate regular oatmeal twice and had two "episodes" and all I can think of is that it must have been the oatmeal as I eat totally gluten-free otherwise. I don't even have celiac disease, or I don't think so, I am gluten intolerant/sensitive. I was tested through Dr. Fine at his operation down there in Texas and they said I have the gene. I passed it along to my granddaughter, who is almost 11 and was diagnosed when she was one. She has it bad. She gets violently sick if she gets gluten. Normally I don't, if I have just a touch of it. Thanks to the person that started this thread, it has been very interesting.

Barbara

all regular oatmeal is gluten contaminated, you can get gluten free oatmeal that is not contaminated in organic sections.

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Actually I knew there was a chance that the regular oatmeal could be contaminated, but as I am not celiac (or I don't think I am)----am gluten intolerant or sensitive, I just thought maybe I could get away with it. WRONG. Now I know. I do have the steel cut oats from Bob's Red Mill, but they take so long to cook and are not smooth like Quaker.

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I was diagnosed 8 years ago with 'panic attacks' after a brief bout with some sort of episode where it felt like heat exploded in my chest, spread throughout my body, my heart started pounding, I felt nauseous and like I couldn't get my breath. Afterward I was totally drained, weak, and shaky. Each episode became milder and farther apart until about 6-8 weeks after the first, and strongest, they didn't happen any more.

Over the intervening years I may have had 3 or 4 more isolated and very mild attacks, until about 6 weeks ago when I went to the ER believing I was having a heart attack. This one was MUCH stronger and came in waves separated by strong shaking in between. After and EKG and some time on a heart monitor they decided what was happening was an esophageal spasm and gave me a cocktail that stopped the whole thing in its tracks. During the time they were running the tests the waves had become mild enough that by the time they made the diagnosis I had finally recognized it as the same attacks I'd had 8 years ago. I'm not trying to say none of you are really having panic attacks, I'm just wondering how common this misdiagnosis is, because aside from the potential for neurological effects, this could explain a simply digestive reason some of you might notice an improvement.

I'm still in the testing stage to find out if I have celiac or gluten intolerance, but my own experiments with eating gluten free have shown that eating gluten free for about 3 days seems to cause a HUGE improvement in my overall health not just the attacks, but if I eat gluten the attacks start again, although blessedly milder than the one that sent me to the ER.

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Wow, include me as another gi or celiac disease (whatever) who has suffered anxiety/depression off and on for years. Past few years I've been on ssri and thought this managed things well. But in the past year or so I've had panic attacks bad enough that for a while I was dependent on xanax twice a week or so. This really didn't fit with my image of myself as an overall pretty bouyant, resilient person. It just seemed like I was gong downhill.

What's made it more complex for me is numerous other health issues and severe fatigue leaving me unable to work. So naturally my docs and I believe at least a chunk of my anxiety is circumstantial. Not to mention I went on a lot of medications for my illness and symptoms about 6-7 years ago.

I'm really hoping to be a bit more on an even keel once my body has adjusted to gluten-free life.

Good luck to you, I hope you find the relief you are seeking also.

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Hello,

First of all, I just have to say that I love being a part of this forum and learning SO many things about Celiac Disease that I never knew before (even though I've had it my whole life). All of your posts have been an inspiration to me in expanding my knowledge about my own tolerances, diet, etc. Thank you so much.

But now I would like to start a topic. I know many members on this forum get more symptoms along the lines of GI, but I'm actually asymptomatic (on surface, anyway) in that area. What I AM very sensitive to is cognitive/mental ability...if I'm glutened, one of the symptoms I know I've been suffering along steadily is panic attacks. Sometimes they're minor and I can easily control them, but other times I just can't it...they take control of me instead.

I just eliminated something from my diet which it turns out I cannot have, but thought I originally could (I had no idea that mainstream cereals contained malt or malt flavoring in them!). It's been 3 days and I'm already feeling more alert and focused than I have in a very long time, but I still had a bad panic attack today. And yesterday, I was supposed to be somewhere for school but couldn't go b/c I had a BAD panic attack right before I got in the door. My body was shaking, I couldn't see straight, I was still paniky...my friend had to drive me back to campus!

So, here are my questions...

1) Does anyone on here seem to notice a correlation between panic attacks (if they have them) and getting glutened?

2) If so, then how long does it take for the panic attacks to go away? I don't expect them to go away overnight, but I would like some insight. I'm a college student with a very busy, rigid schedule, and I can't keep on getting spontaneous panic attacks that are bad enough to send me home or excuse myself. And, if the problem is gluten (which I feel that it is), than I'm not about take medication for it and mess up my system more.

Thank you to all of you once again for your support...

Hi although I'm new at all this gluten stuff...I do suffer from panic attacks...when,mostly at night...

maybe because my severe symptoms were mostly at night after a big meal of gluten.

The attacks comes on very quickly and without warning... I think that they will subside after a few days of feeling better...

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Hello,

First of all, I just have to say that I love being a part of this forum and learning SO many things about Celiac Disease that I never knew before (even though I've had it my whole life). All of your posts have been an inspiration to me in expanding my knowledge about my own tolerances, diet, etc. Thank you so much.

But now I would like to start a topic. I know many members on this forum get more symptoms along the lines of GI, but I'm actually asymptomatic (on surface, anyway) in that area. What I AM very sensitive to is cognitive/mental ability...if I'm glutened, one of the symptoms I know I've been suffering along steadily is panic attacks. Sometimes they're minor and I can easily control them, but other times I just can't it...they take control of me instead.

I just eliminated something from my diet which it turns out I cannot have, but thought I originally could (I had no idea that mainstream cereals contained malt or malt flavoring in them!). It's been 3 days and I'm already feeling more alert and focused than I have in a very long time, but I still had a bad panic attack today. And yesterday, I was supposed to be somewhere for school but couldn't go b/c I had a BAD panic attack right before I got in the door. My body was shaking, I couldn't see straight, I was still paniky...my friend had to drive me back to campus!

So, here are my questions...

1) Does anyone on here seem to notice a correlation between panic attacks (if they have them) and getting glutened?

2) If so, then how long does it take for the panic attacks to go away? I don't expect them to go away overnight, but I would like some insight. I'm a college student with a very busy, rigid schedule, and I can't keep on getting spontaneous panic attacks that are bad enough to send me home or excuse myself. And, if the problem is gluten (which I feel that it is), than I'm not about take medication for it and mess up my system more.

Thank you to all of you once again for your support...

Before I was diagnose with celiac I had not panic but anxiety attacks, I don't know if there's a difference between those two. First I start to get dizzy, then the headache, and then I can't be seat, or still I need to be walking or cleaning, thats how I feel when I eat gluten, without mentioning the diarrheas. I do yoga and pilates since like 4 years and that helped me a lot with the anxiety. I believe that's why I have never had a real panic attack cause by the celiac (I have had panic attacks caused by other situations) but that occurred before I started with yoga. I woke up some days and I'm very motivated with gluten free woojoooo, other days I'm like the hell gluten free I want pizza and bread, this life is horrible, but I always start with a prayer (If your're a believer that's the medicine) and breath, do some yoga, just a bit because I'm still recovering and I'm still very exhausted. For me God first and yoga, and all the anxiety is gone in minutes.

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I had panic attacks for years before going gluten free. I was diagnosed with panic attacks, anticipatory anxiety, and borderline agoraphobia...I even was in therapy for them. Now when I look back, I was given Xanax for the panic, and of course, Xanax contained gluten,,,feeding the monster, so to speak! I was on Paxil when I went gluten free, and eventually weaned myself off of it. My earlu glutenings were stomach/diarrhea attacks. Now, 9 years later, if I get glutened, it's all neurological with panic, headaches, anxiety, brain fog, nausea...then it takes me several months to get over it all...my last glutening took 3 months to get over.

If any of you are using Xanax, make very sure you are getting a gluten free product. Many of Xanax products out there contain gluten.

I rarely panic anymore, and if I do, it doesnt last long.

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I was diagnosed as celiac as a baby but they told me my parents I would grow out of it. This was 50 years ago.

Since the bulk of my problems were mental (anxiety and depression) and the other symptoms were treated as unrelated and minimal. So I have been to more psychiatrists than doctors for the past 20 years, and on every class of psychiatric medicine available, including about a dozen different anti-depressants.

I don't take any more meds, but keep going on and off gluten because I still have doubts, becuase I have thought I was a hypochondriac. But this last few months have been massive for anxiety and panic attacks, and I have trouble thinking. I have been eating glutten.

I hope, first of all, that this works, and second of all, that I KEEP FAITH that it will work, because I keep doubting and going back on gluten.

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I know now that I have been a "Celiac" all my life, I have had mental problems, eating, skin, eye problems all my life, I have been in a mental institution a couple of times, only to be diagnosed wrong, I was put on meds, locked up, beaten, you name it, it happened to me, I'm surprised I'm not in prison for the things I could have done. I am 57 years old, and scared, my sister died at the age of 57, almost 300 LBS, I have always been around 100LBS, even after 5 children, I started putting on weight around 2 years ago, I am now 140LBS, and I was always in pain, my boyfriend got worried, he thought it was an appendicitis, so he had me go to my doctor, she also thought that, so she sent me to the hospital immediately, there at the hospital I learned what I should have know 57 years ago, "I'm a Celiac", and I know now that my sister died of it, so I'm trying to get the word out to my own family, as well as the world, it is so important that we learn everything we can about our bodies, and the diseases we have, and how to control them, hopefully without meds, we can do it naturally, and I am still learning, good luck to all.

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I've never thought about it. But to see so many people also share the same experience,

maybe going 100% gluten free would help the panic attack,

I've had a few accidental bday cakes about 2weeks ago, then.... I had fever after few days and

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease about 2weeks ago. panic attack this week,

trust me, I've never thought it'd be that bad......

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For those of you who feel that your panic attacks/anxiety has gotten better on the gluten free diet, how long did it take to see an improvement. I have been on the gluten free diet about three weeks and haven't notice much change in my anxiety (maybe a little but not much). My doctor said "mental" issues can take months to see improvement in - things such as brain fog, headaches, anxiety/depression, etc. I had tests for celiac that were negative, but this doctor thinks with all my symptoms that I still could have an allergy and feels that I should give it a try.

She said give a few months and I might notice changes - I also have bowel issues (lymphocytic colitis and IBS). She said after a couple months if I have gluten I will know because I will probably have a "reaction" to it.

My panic/anxiety keeps me housebound and I have suffered for over 20 years so if this is the answer I would be so grateful!!! Thanks everyone.

Blessings,

Leah

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