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This is a question for those who suffered from depression or anxiety that was related to your gluten intolerance.

How long, after starting a gluten free diet, did it take for you to begin experiencing relief from or any change in this type of symptom?

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I don't really remember, I'm sorry, but I know it wasn't a magic instant presto change. I believe it was a gradual reduction rather than a sudden AhhHaaa lightbulb moment. I want to say that it took about six months. Most of my worst symptoms where neurological rather than digestive. I can still react badly with depression and rage to specific other foods and substances, most notably chocolate:(

This is a question for those who suffered from depression or anxiety that was related to your gluten intolerance.

How long, after starting a gluten free diet, did it take for you to begin experiencing relief from or any change in this type of symptom?

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It was a good year and a half before I got any real relief from my anxiety--it was gradual for me, too. Four years in, it's manageable but will still get worse when glutened.

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My depression lifted pretty quickly but my anxiety got progressively worse. Mostly due to the fact that I now have such severe reactions to small amounts and the increase in their severity.

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thanks you're helping me! I am a mom of a beautiful 17 year old girl who just a few weeks ago confided to me feelings of depression. She has not been definitively diagnosed as being gluten intolerant but....

when she first told me about it my immediate thought was the birth control pills she had been put on to regulate her periods. She had only been on them for about 3 1/2 months when she talked about it. But in the last two months we (her family) had seen a changed attitude - like another girl. Others close to her commented on it. So my immediate thought was, its the pill. Both the primary care doctor and the specialist who prescribed didn't think that was the likely cause but agreed that it was wise to go off them for the time being, until she can see a psychologist. (we couldn't get a referral for that until next week.) Today is the 16th day off the pill.

in the meantime, waiting for this appointment, I have done a ton of reading and found associations with gluten and depression (VioletBlue, I find it most interesting your primary symptoms were neurological). A little light bulb went off. When my daughter was at the end of 5th grade, a routine checkup revealed that she had fallen off her growth curve - from 25th percentile to 5th. the nurse asked her about specific symptoms; and yes she had had times where she had some stomache pain and diarrhea, but never so often or persistent that it occurred to me it was a problem. (I remember feeling like the bad mom that day.) So blood work was done. I think anti TTGa, gliadal, am not sure. this was back in 2003. One came back very slightly elevated, so slightly elevated that the interpretation was unclear. So she was referred to a pediatric GI and a complete upper and lower GI series was done; everthing from that was normal.

Even tho celiac disease was ruled out, after that I encouraged my daughter to eat frequently throughout the day and provided nutritious snacks to take to school and after school activities (I had found a pediatric journal article that indicated that children suffering from malabsorption syndromes needed to take in 125% of the normal caloric intake to maintain normal growth rate.) We focused on good sources of nutrition and avoided junk.

Interestingly enough, around the same time my blood work indicated a very high cholesterol and somewhat elevated TSH (subclinical hypothyroidism) My doctor wanted to put me on Thyroid meds; I didn't want them; and we agreed on a six month trial of dietary changes. It was at that time that brown rice became a staple in our house as I began eliminating a lot of processed food from the pantry. While not totally eliminated, our consumption of bread and pasta was significantly reduced. In six months my total cholesterol dropped 50 points.

She eventually got back on her normal growth curve. Which was a good thing. But then, she did not get her period. Without chemical assistance. And occasionally she had bouts of constipation. How many teenagers have Fibercon on their dresser?

Sorry for this long story, but I have been in the process of connecting the dots. And I am wondering if her depression is the result of a "perfect storm" of some stressful events in the past few months, the birth control pills, and a latent if not prounounced gluten intolerance. I doubt if she is a full fledged celiac, but I wonder if she has some degree of gluten sensitivity.

The first few days off the pill she seemed a little better and after 4 days we talked about trying a gluten free diet. Today was the 12th day of that venture. Although at the end of the day mom gets the grumpy teenager treatment, those around her during the day have noticed an improvement during the last week. She did have two slips last week - a piece of grandma's banana bread for breakfast resulted in her feeling sick about a half hour after. that took several hours to subside. Then she went out with her boyfriend Friday nite and he bought sandwiches; she was an absolute witch when she came home. Coincidence? On the other hand she's gone shopping for gluten free snacks and has enjoyed some crackers I made with brown rice flour. She is trying. but she is a teenager!

Today was a bad day. This was very discouraging for her and me. I could tell she was "off" when she left the house. I was hoping against hope that it was just an anti mom thing, but no. She came home midday from her planned activities; after an hour or so she was back on a better plane and was able to go to work this afternoon but she feels lousy..complaining of a headache.

She has been eating almost entirely fruits, vegetables, rice, the rice snacks I make her, gluten free corn cakes and rice cakes (she purchased), yogurt and cheese (I read the labels carefully on those) and a little lean meat. I think she needs to eat a little more protein but she has vegetarian leanings. the only thing I am thinking may have been a trigger is that last night I made what I thought were gluten-free cornmeal muffins. I followed a gluten free muffin recipe and I checked the product info on the cornmeal, and thought it checked out.....

so this mom is seeking your help and perspectives please! I am really not comfortable about the prospect of anti depressant meds for her, on the other hand, it is so hard to see her so unhappy. I feel like I am getting depressed too.

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thanks you're helping me! I am a mom of a beautiful 17 year old girl who just a few weeks ago confided to me feelings of depression. She has not been definitively diagnosed as being gluten intolerant but....

when she first told me about it my immediate thought was the birth control pills she had been put on to regulate her periods. She had only been on them for about 3 1/2 months when she talked about it. But in the last two months we (her family) had seen a changed attitude - like another girl. Others close to her commented on it. So my immediate thought was, its the pill. Both the primary care doctor and the specialist who prescribed didn't think that was the likely cause but agreed that it was wise to go off them for the time being, until she can see a psychologist. (we couldn't get a referral for that until next week.) Today is the 16th day off the pill.

in the meantime, waiting for this appointment, I have done a ton of reading and found associations with gluten and depression (VioletBlue, I find it most interesting your primary symptoms were neurological). A little light bulb went off. When my daughter was at the end of 5th grade, a routine checkup revealed that she had fallen off her growth curve - from 25th percentile to 5th. the nurse asked her about specific symptoms; and yes she had had times where she had some stomache pain and diarrhea, but never so often or persistent that it occurred to me it was a problem. (I remember feeling like the bad mom that day.) So blood work was done. I think anti TTGa, gliadal, am not sure. this was back in 2003. One came back very slightly elevated, so slightly elevated that the interpretation was unclear. So she was referred to a pediatric GI and a complete upper and lower GI series was done; everthing from that was normal.

Even tho celiac disease was ruled out, after that I encouraged my daughter to eat frequently throughout the day and provided nutritious snacks to take to school and after school activities (I had found a pediatric journal article that indicated that children suffering from malabsorption syndromes needed to take in 125% of the normal caloric intake to maintain normal growth rate.) We focused on good sources of nutrition and avoided junk.

Interestingly enough, around the same time my blood work indicated a very high cholesterol and somewhat elevated TSH (subclinical hypothyroidism) My doctor wanted to put me on Thyroid meds; I didn't want them; and we agreed on a six month trial of dietary changes. It was at that time that brown rice became a staple in our house as I began eliminating a lot of processed food from the pantry. While not totally eliminated, our consumption of bread and pasta was significantly reduced. In six months my total cholesterol dropped 50 points.

She eventually got back on her normal growth curve. Which was a good thing. But then, she did not get her period. Without chemical assistance. And occasionally she had bouts of constipation. How many teenagers have Fibercon on their dresser?

Sorry for this long story, but I have been in the process of connecting the dots. And I am wondering if her depression is the result of a "perfect storm" of some stressful events in the past few months, the birth control pills, and a latent if not prounounced gluten intolerance. I doubt if she is a full fledged celiac, but I wonder if she has some degree of gluten sensitivity.

The first few days off the pill she seemed a little better and after 4 days we talked about trying a gluten free diet. Today was the 12th day of that venture. Although at the end of the day mom gets the grumpy teenager treatment, those around her during the day have noticed an improvement during the last week. She did have two slips last week - a piece of grandma's banana bread for breakfast resulted in her feeling sick about a half hour after. that took several hours to subside. Then she went out with her boyfriend Friday nite and he bought sandwiches; she was an absolute witch when she came home. Coincidence? On the other hand she's gone shopping for gluten free snacks and has enjoyed some crackers I made with brown rice flour. She is trying. but she is a teenager!

Today was a bad day. This was very discouraging for her and me. I could tell she was "off" when she left the house. I was hoping against hope that it was just an anti mom thing, but no. She came home midday from her planned activities; after an hour or so she was back on a better plane and was able to go to work this afternoon but she feels lousy..complaining of a headache.

She has been eating almost entirely fruits, vegetables, rice, the rice snacks I make her, gluten free corn cakes and rice cakes (she purchased), yogurt and cheese (I read the labels carefully on those) and a little lean meat. I think she needs to eat a little more protein but she has vegetarian leanings. the only thing I am thinking may have been a trigger is that last night I made what I thought were gluten-free cornmeal muffins. I followed a gluten free muffin recipe and I checked the product info on the cornmeal, and thought it checked out.....

so this mom is seeking your help and perspectives please! I am really not comfortable about the prospect of anti depressant meds for her, on the other hand, it is so hard to see her so unhappy. I feel like I am getting depressed too.

I'm not going to reply to anything specific that you wrote because I think you're probably on the right track and that you will figure this out. I just wanted to say that from your looking into to this matter so thoroughly, it shows not only how much you care for your daughter (all of us parents care for and love their children!) but also your virtue of taking action when it is needed. Parenting teenagers is difficult, but you seem to be good at it! :-)

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Thanks Sulevismom, for the vote of confidence. It is sorely needed.

This is child #2; her older brother presented very different issues as a teenager. that was an "adventure" too. He is now 22 and a very cool young man with his head on his shoulders and his feet on his path to the future. We got through the woods with him.... I have to keep telling myself we will make it thru the woods with our daughter too, but in some ways these "woods" are much darker and scarier. Four months ago she was sitting on top of the world and now she is struggling so painfully.

I thank you for helping me feel that I am on the right track, but I am also inviting you - and anyone else - to offer advice or observations aor anything from their experiences that could help me navigate thru this time and place....

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My anxiety and panic attacks disappeared completely within a week. The depression on the other hand I am still working on :(

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Thanks Sulevismom, for the vote of confidence. It is sorely needed.

This is child #2; her older brother presented very different issues as a teenager. that was an "adventure" too. He is now 22 and a very cool young man with his head on his shoulders and his feet on his path to the future. We got through the woods with him.... I have to keep telling myself we will make it thru the woods with our daughter too, but in some ways these "woods" are much darker and scarier. Four months ago she was sitting on top of the world and now she is struggling so painfully.

I thank you for helping me feel that I am on the right track, but I am also inviting you - and anyone else - to offer advice or observations aor anything from their experiences that could help me navigate thru this time and place....

Hi again,

Well, I can only state what I can from my own experience. I've been gluten free for only 3 months, but there are several things that could be the cause of the bouts of depression that I get... but that said, my depressed feelings do coincide exactly with when I first started noticing celiac symptoms in November of last year. I often wonder if the fact that I 'm a Canadian West-coaster living in the middle of Finland for two years is partly to blame for sadness. I'm quite homesick. Also, I have a 1 and a half year old boy, and I'm a bit socially isolated because of that.

But as for what I think might correlate with my celiac disease, I've noticed that when I accidentally get glutened (like yesterday), my eyes feel like crying. It's a weird way to put it, I know. Also, my heart feels heavy in my chest, and my head fills with clouds. I feel apathetic towards almost everything except the joy my son brings and finding more about celiac disease. But if there's one thing that helps me through rough times, and this might help your daughter, is getting plenty of exercise. A good boost of endorphins often replaces the lost energy. It doesn't make everything all better, and it requires a lot of will-power. I suggest running up a steep hill a couple times to get the heart pumping.

Good luck!

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...

She has been eating almost entirely fruits, vegetables, rice, the rice snacks I make her, gluten free corn cakes and rice cakes (she purchased), yogurt and cheese (I read the labels carefully on those) and a little lean meat. I think she needs to eat a little more protein but she has vegetarian leanings. the only thing I am thinking may have been a trigger is that last night I made what I thought were gluten-free cornmeal muffins. I followed a gluten free muffin recipe and I checked the product info on the cornmeal, and thought it checked out.....

so this mom is seeking your help and perspectives please! I am really not comfortable about the prospect of anti depressant meds for her, on the other hand, it is so hard to see her so unhappy. I feel like I am getting depressed too.

Has she seen an allergist? Eliminating allergies as a possibility, especially food allergies, is an important first step.

To answer your original question, my depression and anxiety mostly evaporated almost immediately upon quitting gluten. Unfortunately, part of that was due to accidentally self-medicating with fructose via fruit juice at every meal. I recently quit dairy, fruit and fruit juices and started adding large quantities of steamed vegetables to lunch and dinner. Chains continue falling off.

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Has she seen an allergist? Eliminating allergies as a possibility, especially food allergies, is an important first step.

To answer your original question, my depression and anxiety mostly evaporated almost immediately upon quitting gluten. Unfortunately, part of that was due to accidentally self-medicating with fructose via fruit juice at every meal. I recently quit dairy, fruit and fruit juices and started adding large quantities of steamed vegetables to lunch and dinner. Chains continue falling off.

no, she hasn't seen an allergist yet, but a coworker (also a celiac) told me she has allergic symptoms to corn, so I don't think I will be making those muffins again. Your point about eliminating allergies is a very good one.

Now, can you explain what you meant by "self medicating with fructose"? I don't understand that connection and would like to learn more.

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no, she hasn't seen an allergist yet, but a coworker (also a celiac) told me she has allergic symptoms to corn, so I don't think I will be making those muffins again. Your point about eliminating allergies is a very good one.

Now, can you explain what you meant by "self medicating with fructose"? I don't understand that connection and would like to learn more.

As a parent of two kids, you are no doubt familiar with the phrase "sugar buzz." I was basically on a sugar high all the time and thought that the feelings of happiness and well-being were primarily from giving up gluten.

Breakfast was puffed millet cereal in apple juice with strawberries and bananas. Now I'm not a total idiot; I knew this was a lot of sugar. What I didn't know was that people aren't particularly good at processing fructose, and celiacs are probably worse. I wound up hypoglycemic repeatedly. The most recent episode was so protracted that I started reading extensively, culminating in giving up fruits and fruit juices entirely. I'm pretty sure that I'm an extreme case (mostly because of those crazy breakfasts) and also that I can reintroduce fruits pretty soon.

Also, there's no doubt that getting the B-12 I'd been missing for 45 years due to celiac disease contributed to my improved mood. This should also be the case for your daughter if she's either celiac or gluten intolerant.

Edit: I probably wasn't hypoglycemic directly from the fructose (although I suppose it's possible) but more likely due to starting to starve because of the repeated bouts of diarrhea caused by my body trying to get rid of the fructose as fast as possible. Anyway, that's my story.

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makes sense.

I have started her on a multivitamin. It has B vitamins and other things like manganese. While I have her buy in on the idea that gluten may be a problem for her - chiefly because she herself now recognizes that eating something like bread makes her feel unwell physically - getting to actually take the vitamin has been a little harder.

I finally wrote her a letter explaining the connections between B vitamins, precursors like tyrosine, tryptophane, serotonin levels..... and she is now keeping the vitamins on her dresser, right next to the fibercon. So hopefully she is taking it. With a teenager compliance is an issue until they realize the benefit.

I talked to her this afternoon about maybe not eating any more of the corn muffins and she thought I was a bit nuts. But.... she had them Tuesday nite and had a crappy day Wednesday. Yesterday she had a fairly up day. She had a cornmuffin with breakfast and this afternoon she is crabby and feeling dragged out.

I can see the connection, but she doesn't feel it yet.

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I was sick for 2 years before going gluten free and so depressed that I almost started seeing a shrink. Within a short time (few weeks?) I was in the kitchen, and I realized that I felt HAPPY! Part of it was probably just being so sick for so long - that in itself can make one depressed. But I notice now that when I'm glutened, the deprresion comes back, so it must be a part if the illness. I hope your daughter can get the relief she needs. It's hard enough to be 17, much less burdened with an illness that has so many unpredictable avenues. Good luck.

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thanks!

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hi all, bumming out a bit this afternoon..

more about my daughter. I had been so hoping that the combination of going off birth control and going gluten free would free her from her depression and anxiety. Well since mid July there has been some improvement; she herself sees improvement in her feelings of depression but not her anxiety.

Today was the scheduled visit with the psychiatrist. She has been having counseling sessions with a psychologist but had to wait to get seen by the psychiatrist. He did feel that she would benefit from an antidepressant, and she wants to take them.

so here we are.

On the positive side of things, I liked the psychiatrist, we had a very frank discussion about side effects. And she is starting out on a low dose. He does not think she will necessarily have to be on them forever, either.

I just didn't want to be going there at all.

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hi all, bumming out a bit this afternoon..

more about my daughter. I had been so hoping that the combination of going off birth control and going gluten free would free her from her depression and anxiety. Well since mid July there has been some improvement; she herself sees improvement in her feelings of depression but not her anxiety.

Today was the scheduled visit with the psychiatrist. She has been having counseling sessions with a psychologist but had to wait to get seen by the psychiatrist. He did feel that she would benefit from an antidepressant, and she wants to take them.

so here we are.

On the positive side of things, I liked the psychiatrist, we had a very frank discussion about side effects. And she is starting out on a low dose. He does not think she will necessarily have to be on them forever, either.

I just didn't want to be going there at all.

I'm sorry to hear this as I know you were hopeful to avoid meds. Many are helped a great deal by them but if she does have issues with the antidepressants since she has stronger issues with anxiety don't be afraid to ask to try an antiaxiety drug. It is good that you liked the doctor and felt comfortable with him. That helps a lot. I hope that she is feeling better soon.

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I'm sorry to hear this as I know you were hopeful to avoid meds. Many are helped a great deal by them but if she does have issues with the antidepressants since she has stronger issues with anxiety don't be afraid to ask to try an antiaxiety drug. It is good that you liked the doctor and felt comfortable with him. That helps a lot. I hope that she is feeling better soon.

thanks Raven, I really appreciate the support. We had a good talk tonite. She does feel that the gluten free diet has helped her, and she is motivated to stay on that diet. She does not view the medication as as reason to go off the diet, as she has experienced significant benefit. Its just that everything is still not Ok (mentally) Improvement - yes. Total resolution, no.

So the doctor included me in the discussion, which, with an almost 18 year old, is huge. In retrospect, i wish i had opened more discussion with this guy, but I was guarded going into meeting him. I had had too many encounters where I felt I was regarded as the parent with the third eye or huge wart or whatever... stange ideas not welcomed....

This guy might have been more open than previous providers. He seemed open to future contact if there were concerns so maybe we have started a positive chapter. So I may have an opportunity to re-engage with him in the future. in the meantime I feel like he is a provider who is willing to communicate and work together with both me and my daughter.

Huge..

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This is a question for those who suffered from depression or anxiety that was related to your gluten intolerance.

How long, after starting a gluten free diet, did it take for you to begin experiencing relief from or any change in this type of symptom?

Hi. I responded similarly to a post in the pre-diagnosis forum regarding how long until panic attacks clear up. And just like Panic Disorder, some forms of depression can continue on in a self-feeding cycle even if the original cause of the depression isn't present anymore. The depression may now be feeding off itself instead of feeding off the gluten. When depression continues for awhile, our brain can get into negative thinking styles (the glass is always half-full, or we take things more personally than we need to, or things are always black-and-white rather than shades of grey.) This type of DEPRESSOGENIC thinking only makes the depression continue. Depression also lowers self-worth, and if our self-esteem has taken a major hit it also prevents coming out of the depression as quickly. The same for energy, motivation, socialization.

Sometimes an antidepressant as well as other interventions (counseling, relaxation, exercise, light therapy, assertiveness training) are needed to halt the continuing cycle. I hope she's seeing a therapist as well as the psychiatrist.

A great book is Mary Ellen Copeland's 'The Depression Workbook', but it doesn't replace treatment, rather it adds to treatment.

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Hi. I responded similarly to a post in the pre-diagnosis forum regarding how long until panic attacks clear up. And just like Panic Disorder, some forms of depression can continue on in a self-feeding cycle even if the original cause of the depression isn't present anymore. The depression may now be feeding off itself instead of feeding off the gluten. When depression continues for awhile, our brain can get into negative thinking styles (the glass is always half-full, or we take things more personally than we need to, or things are always black-and-white rather than shades of grey.) This type of DEPRESSOGENIC thinking only makes the depression continue. Depression also lowers self-worth, and if our self-esteem has taken a major hit it also prevents coming out of the depression as quickly. The same for energy, motivation, socialization.

Sometimes an antidepressant as well as other interventions (counseling, relaxation, exercise, light therapy, assertiveness training) are needed to halt the continuing cycle. I hope she's seeing a therapist as well as the psychiatrist.

A great book is Mary Ellen Copeland's 'The Depression Workbook', but it doesn't replace treatment, rather it adds to treatment.

Stacy, your explanation actually mirrors what the psychiatrist explained to us. That the purpose of the drug is not to be on it forever, but to break the cycle and help reestablish more productive patterns, both physiologically and psychologically. and yes she is seeing a therapist as well.

I really appreciate your reply. I would be interested in hearing more about your personal experience - pm me if you don't want to post -

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putting this back on the active list.... mom is despairing again... so please help!

In review, alhtough I had hoped to avoid meds for my daughter, and tho her depression had improved since she went off BCP and went gluten free, anxiety was still an issue and they put her on Zoloft at the end of September. Ths psychiatrist did not feel this was necessarily going to have to be a forever thing and advocated a slow increase to the normal therapeutic dose. She started off at 25 mg. (Normal therapeutic dose = 100 mg.) It was increased to 50, but after that increase, my daughter made her own decision that that was enough, so she has stayed on that dose.

Finally. peace in the household, everything copestetic and starting to look up!

And she seemed to be doing better - in all realms. She sure has been much more pleasant to live with, and has not treated mom like the evil mother from the west. She was doing better at school and just seemed happier all around.

New wrinkle. Yesterday she talked to me about having trouble focusing and paying attention. I have to say I had seen this at home, she was messing around in her bedroom when she should have been focusing on homework. I didn't worry too much because the grades were maintaining.

She wanted to see her counselor (psychologist) again, which she did today. Long and short of it was, the counselor feels like the improvements in her mood and anxiety have allowed her to recognize this lack of focus in herself. That's a good thing. The counselor now has diagnosed my daughter with ADHD, and feel she should be put on ANOTHER med for that!

At this point I am screaming silently inside myself.

I read the profiles of the ADHD meds and NONE of them sound wonderful. And this will be on top of Zoloft. I know dietary changes are not always the solitary answer but I am screaming silently for someone to look at her entire past history as I have, and just say well maybe this DOES have something to do with this. And before we prescribe yet another psychoactive drug should we not look at this avenue further? She has eliminated gluten, but not dairy. We didn't think she had problems with this, so let her enjoy milk with her coffee and cheese on her gluten free pizza. But tonite I have read about ADHD kids responding to a dairy (as well as gluten) free diet.

I tried to introduce this idea (about gluten) to the counselor last summer. She didn't totally diss me, but well, the feeling I got from her was "that's nice dear". But its the psychiatrist who prescirbes, not her. And I haven't broached this with him. To be honest after her reaction I was reluctant to broach this idea with any other provider. (that follows her pedi and endo pretty much discounting that there was any connection between birth control pills and depression)

Sorry for rambling and ranting...

I congratulate my daughter for recognizing a difficulty within herself and speaking up and seeking help. But I just hate this reflexive movement to add another drug!

Am I crazy? I would like to hear from both sides of the medication fence tonite. thanks all.

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Sorry I didn't reply back in Oct. when you queried, busy month (I'm newly diagnosed). I don't necessarily have a personal history with depression, but my profession is that I provide outpatient psychotherapy (independently licensed social worker). Sounds like a lot going on with your daughter, and any good therapist will be open to re-evaluating opinions or diagnoses. As her parent you're your daughter's best advocate. Schedule a time for just you to speak to the therapist about why she came up with the diagnoses she did - leave your daughter at home (most insurances allow a session like this every once in a while if the client is a minor).

ADHD does get missed sometimes - particularly the 'Primarily Inattentive Type' (with this type the child doesn't have the hyperactivity or impulsivity - rather symptoms of: difficulty concentrating, getting distracted easily, appears to not listen, careless mistakes in work, difficulty completing things all the way to the finish, forgetfulness/losing things, disorganized, avoiding or really disliking homework or reading or other things that require focus and concentration.) The key, however, is that these symptoms are 'often', interfere in the child's life, and these things have been occuring all the child's life - not just during a period of depression or stress (depression can cause decreased concentration.)

Ask your daughter what's going on in her head. If your daughter and her therapist think she has ADHD, she can learn tips to help focus and organize. A great book is 'Driven to Distraction'. The first line of defense in medications is basic amphetamines - and their biggest side effects are stomach ache (eating food with the pill nearly wipes this out) and decreased appetite (which could be a concern if she's underweight). Most parents don't give the medicine on weekends or holidays (if it's the type of medicine you can do that with.) The nice thing with most amphetamines is that she would know right away if the medication is working. The psychiatrist may look into nonamphetamine medication if appetite concerns are big - and they could take awhile to work.

There's some research on Omega3 helping manage ADHD (and depression) - but not a lot of research and not as effective as the prescriptions out there - but if you find sources without mercury you can ask her doctor if it's okay to try that for a little while.

Medicines and kids are emotional subjects. I'm middle of the road. I usually suggest trying other things first. But if the kid is miserable, if the kid HATES school because it's hard to focus, or the kid is falling behind academically - then I suggest medication. I've had kids thank me for suggesting medication ('I can finally focus on what the teacher is saying!' was one quote from a teen.)

Talk to her therapist, and good luck! - Stacy

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Sorry I didn't reply back in Oct. when you queried, busy month (I'm newly diagnosed). I don't necessarily have a personal history with depression, but my profession is that I provide outpatient psychotherapy (independently licensed social worker). Sounds like a lot going on with your daughter, and any good therapist will be open to re-evaluating opinions or diagnoses. As her parent you're your daughter's best advocate. Schedule a time for just you to speak to the therapist about why she came up with the diagnoses she did - leave your daughter at home (most insurances allow a session like this every once in a while if the client is a minor).

ADHD does get missed sometimes - particularly the 'Primarily Inattentive Type' (with this type the child doesn't have the hyperactivity or impulsivity - rather symptoms of: difficulty concentrating, getting distracted easily, appears to not listen, careless mistakes in work, difficulty completing things all the way to the finish, forgetfulness/losing things, disorganized, avoiding or really disliking homework or reading or other things that require focus and concentration.) The key, however, is that these symptoms are 'often', interfere in the child's life, and these things have been occuring all the child's life - not just during a period of depression or stress (depression can cause decreased concentration.)

Ask your daughter what's going on in her head. If your daughter and her therapist think she has ADHD, she can learn tips to help focus and organize. A great book is 'Driven to Distraction'. The first line of defense in medications is basic amphetamines - and their biggest side effects are stomach ache (eating food with the pill nearly wipes this out) and decreased appetite (which could be a concern if she's underweight). Most parents don't give the medicine on weekends or holidays (if it's the type of medicine you can do that with.) The nice thing with most amphetamines is that she would know right away if the medication is working. The psychiatrist may look into nonamphetamine medication if appetite concerns are big - and they could take awhile to work.

There's some research on Omega3 helping manage ADHD (and depression) - but not a lot of research and not as effective as the prescriptions out there - but if you find sources without mercury you can ask her doctor if it's okay to try that for a little while.

Medicines and kids are emotional subjects. I'm middle of the road. I usually suggest trying other things first. But if the kid is miserable, if the kid HATES school because it's hard to focus, or the kid is falling behind academically - then I suggest medication. I've had kids thank me for suggesting medication ('I can finally focus on what the teacher is saying!' was one quote from a teen.)

Talk to her therapist, and good luck! - Stacy

Thank you so much for your reply. You've helped me think through things a bit, and realize that another medication many not be so evil and may actually be necessary.

I am going with her to her appointment with the psychiatrist today. I do want to understand more about this diagnosis, because although there certainly a lot of current things going on that do fit - appearing not to listen in class, having trouble focusing and concentrating, getting distracted easily - these aren't life long problems. I would say they started appearing last spring, about the same time she became so irritable and moody (in retrospect, signs of depression).

My question is, is what's going on really ADHD, or are they symptoms that are secondary to depression, even tho she's feeling better? Is this distinction important in terms of appropriate therapy or not?

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My question is, is what's going on really ADHD, or are they symptoms that are secondary to depression, even tho she's feeling better? Is this distinction important in terms of appropriate therapy or not?

Professional thought and research points to the fact that ADHD is an inborn condition. Actual ADHD is not a side effect of something. Depression, however, can result in some symptoms that mimic ADHD - specifically the difficulty concentrating or withdrawal that looks like not listening or following through on things. However if the depression is successfully treated, the child's concentration and listening and follow-through will return to regular (whatever 'regular' is for the child.)

To officially diagnose ADHD, the signs have to have been present in the person before age 6 - although most people admit, upon reflection, that they can recognize signs in themselves or their child (depending on who is being diagnosed) at very young ages. My son was hyperactive in the womb and through infancy. My pediatrician suggested the diagnosis when he was 3 or 4, but I already knew before that. (It wasn't until he was in 3rd grade that we tried medication, and that's because he really fell behind in reading.)

Theory is that the part of our brain that controls the ability to focus is underdeveloped. Sometimes the brain overcompensates by trying to rev itself up (causing the hyperactivity present in some kids with ADHD) - this is also why amphetamines work - the amphetamine revs things up for the brain and the brain/body in return can slow down. This opposite effect (a stimulant that slows a person down) is called the 'paradoxical effect'. Some people with ADHD also find that caffeine and nicotine(which are both stimulants) slow them down.

You do want to make sure you have the right diagnosis/diagnoses. Keep in mind, human beings can have more than one thing going on. A person can have both diabetes and asthma. And a kid can have both ADHD and depression. The difference is that depression is episodic (and she may never have a depressive episode again), but ADHD is chronic at least through late teens. Some people 'outgrow' ADHD in late teens - some professionals say that's because the brain finally fully develops by then, but I wonder if part of it is that the teen may learn good self-coping tools by then and the ADHD doesn't interfere as much. Then there is a large percentage of people who don't 'outgrow' ADHD. However in adulthood we have better control over our environment, and most adults I know with ADHD don't pick desk jobs where they're stuck in a cubicle.

Diagnosing ADHD is pretty straight forward if the child and parent(s) give the clinician good and full information. Take your time with the psychiatrist and therapist. Don't let them rush you, interrupt, make assumptions, or finish your sentences. Clarify if symptoms for your daughter are 'just a little bit of the time' versus 'some of the time' versus 'often'.

- Stacy

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Professional thought and research points to the fact that ADHD is an inborn condition. Actual ADHD is not a side effect of something. Depression, however, can result in some symptoms that mimic ADHD - specifically the difficulty concentrating or withdrawal that looks like not listening or following through on things. However if the depression is successfully treated, the child's concentration and listening and follow-through will return to regular (whatever 'regular' is for the child.)

To officially diagnose ADHD, the signs have to have been present in the person before age 6 - although most people admit, upon reflection, that they can recognize signs in themselves or their child (depending on who is being diagnosed) at very young ages. My son was hyperactive in the womb and through infancy. My pediatrician suggested the diagnosis when he was 3 or 4, but I already knew before that. (It wasn't until he was in 3rd grade that we tried medication, and that's because he really fell behind in reading.)

Theory is that the part of our brain that controls the ability to focus is underdeveloped. Sometimes the brain overcompensates by trying to rev itself up (causing the hyperactivity present in some kids with ADHD) - this is also why amphetamines work - the amphetamine revs things up for the brain and the brain/body in return can slow down. This opposite effect (a stimulant that slows a person down) is called the 'paradoxical effect'. Some people with ADHD also find that caffeine and nicotine(which are both stimulants) slow them down.

You do want to make sure you have the right diagnosis/diagnoses. Keep in mind, human beings can have more than one thing going on. A person can have both diabetes and asthma. And a kid can have both ADHD and depression. The difference is that depression is episodic (and she may never have a depressive episode again), but ADHD is chronic at least through late teens. Some people 'outgrow' ADHD in late teens - some professionals say that's because the brain finally fully develops by then, but I wonder if part of it is that the teen may learn good self-coping tools by then and the ADHD doesn't interfere as much. Then there is a large percentage of people who don't 'outgrow' ADHD. However in adulthood we have better control over our environment, and most adults I know with ADHD don't pick desk jobs where they're stuck in a cubicle.

Diagnosing ADHD is pretty straight forward if the child and parent(s) give the clinician good and full information. Take your time with the psychiatrist and therapist. Don't let them rush you, interrupt, make assumptions, or finish your sentences. Clarify if symptoms for your daughter are 'just a little bit of the time' versus 'some of the time' versus 'often'.

- Stacy

Thanks Stacy -

here is how things went today. I asked him to explain the diagnosis today, and did indicate that I thought this was a life long diagnosis. And how could it be that this was just showing up in the last year? Because in thinking and talking about it, my daugther does not remember being bothered by it before last year (her junior year) and although I did observe signs of distraction at home - when she was supposed to be doing her homework - again I didn't see this on a regular basis till the middle of the past school year.

The doctor explained his opinion, that with very bright kids this sometimes doesn't show up until the middle of the high school years. They have had it, but if they aren't overly challenged, they cope with it successfully and its not apparent. She was always high honors prior to last year. I think the level of difficulty of her courses did go up and she didn't make the honor roll every quarter. I reassured her that this was not important to me (I meant that sincerely) and that she was doing fine.

This year, she has struggled even more. So he was not surprised that feelings of not being able to focus or concentrate didn't become apparent until now because he has seen this pattern before.

And there is the possibility that this may have been a contributing factor to her depression. He has had patients that once they take the medication for ADHD, feel so well they no longer need the antidepressant. But no guarantees there, we just have to see how she responds. Like you said, these simply could be two coexisting situations.

He also said that his impression was that she was like an "ADHD without the H". That she did not demonstrate hyperactivity, just the attention aspects.

Going back to the signs and symptoms in early years. I can't remember anything from school age years that was ever a clue. The only thing that makes me wonder is a couple of things from her infancy. I nursed my kids, and her older brother was a very contented nurser. She was the distractible one, she would stop nursing if any little thing was going on around her. She was also earlier than her brother in pulling herself up to standing, and she scared me out of my wits by climbing up the stairs at 10 months. Whereas her brother at the same age would contently sit and play with his trucks in the sand, and I could peacefully read in the sun, this one never sat, and I was always running after her! I don't know if that fits - but it makes me smile now to remember.

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