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charliesmom

Coping Mechanisms?

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My 4 year old son appears to have some serious behavioral issues from exposure to gluten. He shows a lot of anxiety and seems to be very irritable - prone to ridiculous tantrums and hard to deal with. He's going to get kicked out of school if we don't figure something out to keep him from getting exposed or to minimize behavorial reactions.

What type of suggestions do you have for coping mechanisms to teach him? We saw an OT already, who will address some of his minor sensory issues in case these are making the problem worse.

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If it is a gluten reaction, it isn't something he can control. His environment needs to be clear of gluten. The psychiatrist and therapist tried to teach me "coping skills" too for my severe anxiety and profound depression. Nothing ever worked. If the brain is negatively effected by gluten, it is neurological symptoms and not the kind you can Will away with will power or outside intervention other than removing gluten entirely and in all trace forms. Having said that, some children also have reactions to salicylates in foods and it causes extreme mental distress, irritablity and can cause tantrum behavior too. That is in fruits, vegetables, food colorings etc. If he is is sensitive to aspririn, he will react to any food with Benzoates, tartrazine, food colorings. Poor guy probably doesn't want to be acting the way he is, but he is powerless if it is food related, unless you figure out what the foods are and eliminate them. I got "all better" after eliminating gluten AND salicylic acid. Hope you figure it out really I do.

Sue Dengate has a website and has written and researched extensively on the effects of food additives on children. You might want to check that out too.

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Most of the coping mechanisms we do probably wouldn't work for a child that young, but also? Not that effective, either. Most of the time, we just have to put on the compassion hat and and ride them out. My daughter is 12 now and she just about loses her mind when she's glutened. Almost suicidal, and it scares the crap out of me!

I have heard from a friend with allergies that she had at a young age that finding a psychologist who was good at biofeedback might be of some use. It worked for her, and I'm looking currently for one that might work for my daughter. Even now, older, I can say that logic doesn't work, calm breathing doesn't work, talking doesn't work. Her brain cannot think clearly at all. Nothing I say or do affects it, and her perception of reality is completely skewed when she gets glutened. SHe can't remember a time before she felt hopeless, even if she hasn't felt depressed for weeks. It's truly awful.

But one thing that has sometimes helped has been music, or something for her to do that she can focus on that might help take away her mind from obsessing on her problems/depression/anger. Sometimes she takes a shower, sometimes we read a book - but if it's really bad, she's going to have a huge crying/screaming fit for a few hours, no matter what else happens, no two ways about it.

As you can imagine, we have become extremely hyper-vigilant about gluten as a result!

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