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Audra K

Cross Contamination and Depression

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Our son was diagnosed almost a year an a half ago. He is 5 now. His blood work at 6 months post diagnosis was great. Since then he started a preK program three half days a week but he has snack there. He  sometimes eats the classroom snack if it’s labeled gluten free. We also keep regular bread in our house for my husband. There are definitely times he could have been cross contaminated. Since he’s started school he’s been having major mood swings that are out of character for him and saying very disconcerting things like “I hate myself”, “I want to get lost”, “I want to get hit by a car”. We are working with his teacher and have a call into his GI doctor. Does anyone know if these types of depressive thoughts can be a symptom of contamination in a toddler?? Thanks so much! 

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Hi Audra,

I don't know about in children, but adults can certainly have depression and anger, anxiety and other negative feelings with celiac disease.  Insomnia is sometimes (perhaps often) a problem also.

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1 hour ago, Audra K said:

Our son was diagnosed almost a year an a half ago. He is 5 now. His blood work at 6 months post diagnosis was great. Since then he started a preK program three half days a week but he has snack there. He  sometimes eats the classroom snack if it’s labeled gluten free. We also keep regular bread in our house for my husband. There are definitely times he could have been cross contaminated. Since he’s started school he’s been having major mood swings that are out of character for him and saying very disconcerting things like “I hate myself”, “I want to get lost”, “I want to get hit by a car”. We are working with his teacher and have a call into his GI doctor. Does anyone know if these types of depressive thoughts can be a symptom of contamination in a toddler?? Thanks so much! 

I am so sorry that your son is not feeling well.  Consulting with his GI is very important.  He should be retested (antibodies) to help confirm if he is getting gluten into his diet (active celiac disease).

Celiac disease can cause a mutitude of mental health issues.  Not much has been studied, but celiac researchers believe that gluten exposures affect the brain and nervous system.  Celiac disease does not just target the small intestine, it is systemic.  Even if gluten exposure is ruled out, just managing the disease can be overwhelming.  It is for me sometimes and I am an adult!  

Before, you worry about a new health issue, rule out active celiac disease.  I can tell you that my kid can tell when hubby and I have been glutened.  We become grumpy.  It is often the first sign before GI or other symptoms appear.  We also experience depression.  

Consider a local celiac support group.  Consider a celiac camp when he is a bit older.  It is so hard being different!  Do you have a 504 educational plan in place?  Try reading through the kid section of the forum.  Plenty of parents have posted similar situations and have offered tips to resolve them.  Just use the query box.  

You can learn more a out celiac disease and mental illness. 

https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/related-conditions/mental-health/

Is having bread in the house impacting your son’s health?  Most likely not, if you are following safe practices.  But, consider making your house 100% gluten free if only just to support your son mentally.  Having one safe place is critical for me.  Piece of mind is worth it!  

Thank you for reaching out.  You are not alone.  

 

Edited by cyclinglady

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Yes gluten can cause serious depression and suicidal thinking and even actions. After CC I get 24 hours where life does not seem worth living but I am able to fight it because I know that the feelings are being caused by being glutened and will lift. I didn't have that knowledge when the first episode of gluten related depression hit me hard at age 11. I had to be brought back in the ER and spent days in intensive care with the doctors telling my Mom I would never wake up and would be brain damaged if I did. I did wake up and was okay but it would be many years before I would know that the dark hole was due to gluten. I am telling you this because this kind of depression can lead to more than just the suicidal thoughts he is experiencing it can lead to action even in young children.

Please make sure that all is being done that can be done to keep him safe. There are more risks than just food and this can make many things commonly used in preschools very hazardous for him. Paints, playdough, pasta necklaces, glues etc can be a source of CC. You need to make sure that care is taken in school  to keep him safe. Talk to his teachers so you know what projects are being done and you can bring in safe alternatives like gluten-free pasta for that necklace or safe modeling clays and paints for his use.  Do talk to the GI and have those panels rerun. Your GI may not be aware that celiac can have this effect so don't be surprised if you get an 'eye roll' reaction when you bring it up. Also see if there are any counselors that deal with children. They can help him understand that the suicidal feelings he is having are because of his celiac condition and will pass. Be extemely cautious of any doctor that wants to medicate him for depression. The key to fighting gluten related depression is being very strict with the gluten free lifestyle. 

I know how hard this is to deal with as a parent. Both of my children are celiac and one had the same depression issues I did as a result. A counselor may also be able to help you help him deal with those feelings. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this but please don't take his suicidal ideation lightly. It is rare for children to act on those feeling but it does happen.

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Every time I get glutened I get extreme bipolar like mood swings, used to also have anger outburst so bad I called it Mr. Hyde. Over the years it has transitioned, I get really depressed and suicidal with exposure and it normally hits the next day after a exposure and last several days. I thought it had to do with lowered absorption of magnesium, vitamin d, healthy fats, b-vitamins and upping my dosing of them seems to help at least a tad.
I will agree with the others a counselor or someone to talk to about stuff helps, just to vent as things really seem to stack up and life feels like a sinking hole during these events. Like really it feels like everything is against you and  people are stomping on your fingers trying to make your drop into the abyss, the tiniest things that go wrong or actions seem over whelming negative. In a normal mindset we can use logic and see that it is not really targeted at us, but with the fog, and the mental state caused but the gluten exposure.....you feel everything is against you and every action people take is against you.

Going to go with the suggestion above, whole house gluten free. You will be thankful in the end, if you child takes action from a exposure and does something regrettable you will blame yourself for not taking every action you could and it will haunt you.  I moved out of my parents house and into a gluten-free dedicated building to heal and get away from exposures....they were scary and I feared for my life in a way.

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not gluten related, but, yes, it is important for him to understand that it is transitory.  I was given tramadol for pain post injury, w/o being warned about its alteration in mood regulating chemicals.  When i went off it, I was a raging idiot.  thought i was losing my mind.  went off on a doc, got no returned to that practice, no loss there, he was an ass.   But the point is, I was not warned, and that was terrible.  hugs to kid.

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Thank you all so much for your replies! We are having his blood drawn and all his celiac panels rerun today. 

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