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Hadrian

Allergen Induced Issues

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Not sure if this is the proper place to post this, but here goes ^__^

So, I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy when I was about 6 (2001). My parents cut the gluten/wheat out of my diet, but things gradually got lax and we finally just stopped monitoring my diet. Things started getting bad in 8th grade (when I was 13). I'm a Christian (bear with me, it's related to the overall topic xD), and life was going pretty good. Then, I started to get very bad stomach aches. My folks and I didn't really think much of it, but the stomach aches didn't go away and I started occasionally vomiting (every week).

Around that time, the anxiety/depression kicked in. I have a neurological condition called sensory motor integration, so along with other things, I think in many different levels of thought. Like, when I was a little kid and would trip and scrape my knees, I would get extremely paranoid as I'd think of infection, and bleeding to death, etc. As a result, the anxiety exacerbated everything. I began to worry about my faith, doubting what I believed, and stressing out. I would think about everything that could go wrong, and I couldn't shake this anxiety.

Things got worse. My parents didn't know what was going on with me, as they didn't know about the neurological affects of gluten intolerance/celiacs disease. It got to the point where I began to doubt my own existence, and once or twice, even had homicidal thoughts (which thankfully I was able to control). We finally found a doctor, and found that my anxiety/depression were all caused by my allergies. My allergy was so out of control that I had a fungal infection in my stomach that was eating away at the stomach lining.

So, we cut the wheat/gluten out of my diet. All the anxiety/depression went away, and things went back to normal. My faith took a hit from the anxiety, but it went pretty much back to normal. I wasn't quite out of the woods yet though.

This last May, I started getting stomach aches, not as severe as before, but present. My 10th grade year had been difficult near the end (first, I found out that my best friend of 7 years had a serious cutting problem after I noticed deep cuts on his arms and legs, and then that he was bisexual. I don't mind bisexual people, but I mean, it was still a shock).

Once summer started, I began to worry that, since it happened to him, could it happen to me? Now once again, I don't mind gay/bisexual people, but due to my faith/the fact that I'm straight, I didn't want this to happen to me. I didn't quite realize the level of my allergy again, and was unaware of the gluten in trace amounts that I was ingesting, as well as the milk, egg, peanuts, cashews, corn, and soy that I was also allergic to.

Being a 15 year old, hormone plagued boy, I can kinda get aroused easily (this relates to the topic too, trust me xD). So, because of this and my wonderful sensory motor integration, I managed to become an anxious wreck and convinced myself that I was becoming gay. When I actually think about it, it's pretty ridiculous: because I was getting involuntary "tingling sensations," I somehow took this as becoming gay. Well, nonetheless, due to my anxiety, I developed an anxious response to men, kind of a phobia in fact.

The anxiety kind of started getting out of control. I started doubting myself, my sexuality, and my faith (again >.<). It just kept getting worse, but this time, we decided to contact the doctor after only two months instead of a year and a half.

So, we went to our local alternative medicine doctor. He diagnosed my other allergies via blood test, and told me that all my anxiety/depression/insane thoughts/physical symptoms were all allergy induced. This was a little less than two weeks ago.

So my anxiety hasn't completely gone away: I still doubt/am anxious about losing my faith and becoming gay and stuff. I know that it's all ridiculous, but if you've had the anxiety problems, you know how irrational and consuming they are. I'm just attempting to avoid causing any mental scars, and just hoping that everything goes back to normal. I hear that detox time can take months, so I'll just take it one day at a time. Sorry for killing you all with my stream of consciousness, and I hope you can relate (if not, understand). Feel free to reply, I could definitely use some feedback!

~Hadrian

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Hi Hadrian,

You've been through so much and I guess my best advice is to try a gluten-free diet for a few years (it took me 15 months to return to what I feel is close to normal, but I'm quite a bit older, so maybe you'll heal faster.) Good luck, I hope you figure out what is right for you.

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Welcome, Hadrian! I am a Christian, too, so can understand how upsetting your anxiety must be to your faith. Do not doubt it or lose hope. :) At your age (heck, any age) it is normal to question things at times.

You are one smart 15-year old! You've already begun researching for yourself (you found us!). As Marilyn mentioned I would also try the gluten-free diet for a longer period of time. Sometimes it would be nice to know how long we have had our intolerances/celiac! Anyway, my dietitian told me that it can take between two to five years for complete gut healing. Your damage may not be as extensive as mine, for example. I was diagnosed six months ago and I am an adult. The average number of years for celiac diagnosis is eleven or twelve I believe. Yuck.

It is shocking how gluten can affect all aspects of one's life from spiritual to physical to emotional to neurological and so on. Had I not been diagnosed with celiac disease I would not have believed it.

Have you been strictly avoiding gluten and cross contamination? It is amazing how it can sneak in there without your knowing it. Have you had any bloodwork done prior to going gluten free?

Sounds as though you are on the right track (arming yourself with knowledge). Hang in there, ok? :)

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Aww Hadrian,

Thanks for your post. I would give you a hug if I could. I'm a mom of a kid that went through a lot with undiagnosed Celiac disease. I was too tired, sick, fatigued, headache ridden, depressed and anxious to figure out that what was consuming me was also consuming my son. I am very intrigued by your post because there were early symptoms for my son, such as extreme anxiety and guilt that seemed irrational at the time. Guilt about stepping on a bug, or profound grief over losing the kitchen stove. (We had gotten a new one.) Or obsessive fear about flies. If one was in the house he was panicky that it might land on him or his food...it was horrifying to watch him go through such fears. I was so puzzled about the fact that my normally happy child became so anxious and nervous and worry consumed and really grief stricken about minor things. I once tucked him in at tnight and he apologized to me saying he didn't think he had ever loved me and he was very sorry about that. All of these things I now know are consistent with undiagnosed Celiac. It can and does cause sever and profound depression and anxiety for children and adults. He had a glazed look, dazed really, and problems concentrating in school. They said it was ADD without the hyperactivity. However he also developed a stumbling walk. (Gluten Ataxia) We didn't figure any of it out until he was 16 yrs old when I happened upon this site. I think it is really wonderful that you figured out what is going on with you internally...the mental manifestations of gluten toxicity. Rest assured that your feelings are going to improve and your sense of well-being will return. Trace gluten is very serious though and it can cause a return of all the symptoms you describe. My son is now 11 months gluten free and for the first time since he was 7 years old, he experiences life like a normal adolescent for the most part. His internal experience is drastically different than it was when he was on gluten. I think you can look forward to your anxiety symptoms easing up as you heal. It took a few weeks, but eventually the light in his eyes was back on, his affect was appropriate to situations, and he interacts with his peers much more now than ever before. Before gluten free it was like he was pre-occupied all the time. Couldn't think. Couldn't feel. He doesn't share everything with me (he is an adolescent after all) but I want you to know that I see a trememdous difference. There are no signs or symptoms of depression or anxiety now. I haven't really shared the symptoms of obsessive fear/anxiety as I was never sure they were really gluten related or if perhaps he had psychological problems in addition to Celiac. However, I am now 100% certain that all of the anxiety, despair, fatigue and depression were caused by gluten.

You mentioned a friend of your who cuts themselves. I have often wondered if self-mutilation is a manifestation of gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. I'm a therapist and I have never seen very successful treatment of patients who self-mutilate. I strongly suspect gluten could cause such despair. It makes people feel numb and dead inside...and self mutilators often describe feeling relief or feeling more alive after cutting. Even the pain is a relief for them to "feel" something...anything. Severe and profound depression and anxiety from gluten could cause the despair that leads to cutting. I hope you can find a way to share the information about gluten with that friend. I fear Dr.'s and therapists are a long, long way off from diagnosing people who suffer from Neurological symptoms and manifestations of Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance. Though I'm not sure why gluten interferes with the brain and thinking, I'm absolutely certain that it does. I used to think "I have lost my soul." This deep emptiness came over me many times in my life. It all went away when I went gluten free. I didn't get to 100% right away, but the worst of the severe despair was gone in a month. And my son's progress since being gluten free has been nothing short of a miracle for us.

I'm so happy for you that you now know about the neurological symptoms of Celiac and your other allergies as well. And you are very astute to realize that your thoughts are connected to the food intolerances and therefore they can ease up, heal, and go away eventually. Thanks for sharing all of that and I wish you a rapid recovery and hope you see a quick return of your sense of well-being. You really are amazing for being so young and being able to verbalize all the things you experienced as a result of gluten and other food allergies.

I'm 48 and it took me all these years to figure out that my mental state of awareness/alertness vs..fatigue and foggy brain, were in fact, related to Celiac and Gluten. It totally interferes with my sense of well-being. And it does the same for my son. None of my professional training prepared me to diagnose the depression or anxiety caused by gluten. In fact, Celiac, was never once mentioned in graduate classes on psychological pathology whether mild depression/anxiety or schizophrenia. I think things are changing a bit now. But posts like yours may be the only way people figure out what is going on with them mentally and that gluten and/or other food allegies can be the cause.

Thank you for writing about your experience to date. It will help others who are struggling with similar issues. It isn't you...it is is your brain on gluten. I am betting you just helped a lot of people who will be googling their symptoms. :)

Be sure you take your vitamins!!! That is all I can really add.

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You mentioned a friend of your who cuts themselves. I have often wondered if self-mutilation is a manifestation of gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. I'm a therapist and I have never seen very successful treatment of patients who self-mutilate. I strongly suspect gluten could cause such despair. It makes people feel numb and dead inside...and self mutilators often describe feeling relief or feeling more alive after cutting. Even the pain is a relief for them to "feel" something...anything. Severe and profound depression and anxiety from gluten could cause the despair that leads to cutting.

I don't mean to sidetrack here, but your comment about self-mutilation made me very curious. I cut myself for over 10 years and went to quite a few counselors and other doctors who would just prescribe meds for anxiety and depression, but none of it helped. I had stopped cutting a few months before going gluten free because I realized that my daughter was going to start asking questions that I didn't want to have to answer, but it was a struggle almost daily not to cut. After cutting gluten out of my diet I have not even had to urge to pick up a knife to cut. So I am not sure if there is definitely a connection, but there sure was a connection between the two for me. And I hope that others may find peace like I did.

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