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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Celiacs And Mental Instability
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17 posts in this topic

I'm well aware that the strangest things can affect one's mental health, and that is why I'm posing this question, though I'm not sure it is in the right place. I hope so.

Anyone who's read my other thread will know I'm a self diagnosed celiac, and haven't been to a doctor because I have been gluten free for two weeks or so now, and I couldn't get an early enough appointment to make the tests really worth having. I've been feeling the effects of being gluten free too well to ever go back, an that is enough proof for me.

The issue I post here is a very personal one. I've had it for a very long time, and I'm wondering if it was a mostly ignored early warning sign, because I kept it quiet most of the time. Where I could anyway, as it doesn't exactly like to stay hidden.

Now, as well as long as I am aware, which is from about eleven or twelve years old by my memory, I have been very emotionally unstable. I can start the day really quite happy but the second I come into contact with someone who's down, or even just stub my toe, in extreme circumstances, my mood instantly hits rock bottom and I feel depressed for the rest of the day, even when people try to cheer me up.

A main example of this is my inability to stand confrontation. When I am attacked by someone, even in just a controlled, debate environment, my mind clouds over and I get the incredible urge to burst into tears. If the discussion is heated, such as an argument with my dad or bullies at school teasing, I cant hold these tears back, my face goes bright red and I make a complete fool of myself by crying my eyes out.

This happens is I get frustrated too: I'm stuck between hitting something or bursting into tears, and the tears usually win. My psychology tutor, who I spoke to in confidence, suggested it was a defence mechanism because of the constant confrontations I had with my brother as a child (something I don't want to expand on here), but I'm wondering if I cant break out of this cycle because of something else.

I read that celiacs can cause mood issues, including many I have felt myself. Is it possible it stemmed from this? Though I still get frustrated very easily I am now less effected by the moods of others and try to cheer them up instead, but all the others still stand.

Any ideas?

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Hey,

It is definitely possible for a gluten intolerance to cause neurological abnormalities. I've heard of several people having neurological symptoms, although they definitely vary.

I'm not sure how old you are, but I think you mentioned you are still in school so I'm assuming you are younger than me. I'm a 25 year old female, and I have a similar background. All throughout elementary and high school I was extremely emotionally sensitive - I would burst into tears or become enraged at the slightest things. I have had strong depression symptoms for as long as I can remember (the earliest is about 4 or 5).

I was at first diagnosed with depression, for which I took anti-depressants for a few years. After finding that my symptoms were somewhat better but not alleviated, I began to search for other causes besides simply my serotonin receptors not functioning properly (this is what causes depression).

I went to a naturalpath, who put me on the "candida diet", which for the most part is gluten free. I found that my symptoms definitely got better with this diet, however did not disappear completely.

For me, it is a combination of things which causes my depression/mood shifts - both environmental (gluten) and social (my sensitivity to social circumstances). Although going gluten-free helped, it didn't solve everything.

Humans in general have a range of emotional sensitivity, from sociopaths/psychopaths who do not feel guilt, remorse, and cannot read social emotions at all; to people like you and me who are over emotional and affected by pretty much everything.

Your gluten free diet should alleviate some of the emotional instability, but it will take a few weeks for your hormones and neurotransmitters to readjust.

I hoped this helps and good luck!

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ok, so first of all im not a psychaitrist or md... but i DO KNOW that gluten can have disasterous effects on your brain! whether or not gluten was the only or 1st trigger in your emotional instability is not something i have any answer or knowledge.

there are many on here who will tell you 1st hand of how gluten affected their brains... gluten has been linked to schizophrenia & autism, depression & anxiety.. gluten can actually be a neurotoxin for some

i have definitely noticed neurological and mood changes going on and off gluten... some of the worst anxiety i have ever had in my life was during my "wheat challenge" (before my blood tests).

the body is SO integrated tho- your emotions may be tied in with previous gluten consumption PLUS stressful situations/home environment & of course, learned behavior.. for example- IF gluten was what initially put u in an unbalanced state- then even if going gluten free makes you feel almost completely better, you may need to talk to a counselor, or simply change your own learned behavior/reactions.

i still have so much going on in my life that i need to find a good therapist, plus a suspected hypothyroid could be causing my fatigue & shortness of breath- BUT- being Gluten Free has MOST DEFINITELY "taken the edge off"

good luck :)

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Whether or not the gluten trouble started the mood instability, at this point, it might be helpful to you to seek treatment just for that since it must have had a profound impact on you after being part of your life for so long. I'm almost an MD (degree on 6/3/11! SOON!) and if I were your doc, I would recommend you see someone just because it sounds like what you're going through would make life incredibly difficult, and I don't think it has to be that difficult.

Whatever started this, you're here now. I'm glad the gluten-free thing has helped, but I don't think you should have to be dealing with this the way you are, day in and day out. There is help available out there, and I do think it would be worth it to seek out a good therapist (and potentially even a good antidepressant or mood stabilizer, but that's something to discuss with your doctor).

You deserve way better than emotional instability. Hopefully with help, you can have more than just the edge taken off. If I were your doc, I would want that for you. As a friend on the forum (or acquaintance?) I also want that for you.

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as many have already said, I couldn't say for sure that gluten has been causing this issue for you, but your description could pretty much be my daughter, word for word. Very easily bought down, bursting into tears at a moment's notice and unable to stop.

My son reacts with fury and anger instead of tears, but it's just as uncontrollable and just as easily induced. I don't burst into tears, but I was very easy to lay low, emotionally, and had a hard time climbing out of the pit, as it were.

We didn't realize this was gluten at first, but when the emotional trouble went away off of gluten, and came back WITH gluten, we really noticed.

I don't know if a bit more info. would be applicable to your situation, but just in case it would, I'll share something else as well.

In the year since going gluten-free, we've discovered that we're extra sensitive to gluten, too. My daughter will have gut pain now (she didn't before) when she has gluten, then more issues with bursting into tears, sadness, and trouble sleeping and feeling tired. But we finally started to notice that if she's had products that are gluten free (like gluten-free bread or cookies), she may not have the gut pain, or it will be low and something she hardly notices, but she'll have smaller bouts of tears, less sadness, minor trouble sleeping, and feel a bit tired - but it's the exact same cycle, just less.

We've been playing around with foods that have been tested for gluten (5ppm products up to 20 ppm) and have discovered that if a food has over 10ppm of gluten, she'll have her sadness issues, even though stomach pain doesn't usually hit unless she has over 20ppm. So...if you notice an improvement in your symptoms, but they don't totally go away, perhaps you might have something similar?

For me? I've reacted now to things that were 5 ppm or less. :o I've had to go super, super gluten-free. But when I do - no depression, no crying or anger issues. It's really, really an amazing feeling. I hope it is one that you get to experience too! (oh, and this DId take a little while to get to - maybe a month or two, I think, before I started to notice the full recovery, emotionally)

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Hey HardcoreDior,

I am younger than you, at 20, and still in education, but no longer in a school environment. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I have been gluten free for at least two weeks now, possibly longer, but my memory is terrible, but I am already feeling some differences in the way I react to things.

I posted this because of a reaction to had to a frustrating situation yesterday, which was generally off the scale and an over-reaction to the situation, but it made me so angry I was on the edge of tears for a good few hours before I could calm down.

I hope this diet can help that even more, once it has had time to kick in.

x

Hey Cassp,

Thank you for the reply. It can be a neurotoxin for some? Wow, that's got to be a pain in the behind. I'm well aware that some odd substances can be neurotoxins for people, since my brother's behaviour is majorly affected by caffeene and MSG. It makes buying things or cooking for him rather annoying, but the results mean we would never let him eat something liket hat again.

Fingers crossed I get somewhere. lol.

x

Hey Emiluska,

I have spoken to my doctor about it before, with my parents when I was younger. He basically stated I was overly sensitive and needed tougher parenting, and refused to give us any mood stabilisers. My dad took this as gospel and instantly started making the problem worse by 'trying to help me', while my mum moddycoddled it by hugging me every time I bust into tears.

Probably not the best solutions, I'm going to guess.

Congratulations on graduating soon! I hope you enjoyed your course. I only just started mine in Biology and so far it's going OK, though one of the subjects had me so frustrated I burst into tears in the middle of a practical >.< and again when I got home.

I have a new doctor now. I might go and book an appointment, and get some advice.

x

Dear T.H,

Wow. I'm very sorry your family have such bad reactions to gluten. I seem to be the only one in my family, though my brother is suspected but he wont give up pasta. (he lives on the stuff.) Thank you for sharing your experience and for the advice, it is much appreciated. I hope this diet does help me at least, even if it just lessens the symptoms a little.

I wish you and your family all the best.

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Hamster, all I can say is gluten messes with your brain big-time. Emotions, paranoia, feelings of worthlessness... I was in constant confrontation with my family as a pre-teen and a teenager, had no worthwhile relationships with anyone, and was a perennial mess, with suicidal feelings and intentions until I was 17 and got out of the family environment. It was much later that I realized what gluten was doing to me, but if you lay gluten over another problem it becomes almost insurmountable. Once free of the confrontations, gluten didn't rear its ugly head until much later in life for me (I had a gluten holiday for about 10 years, whereas before it had dominated my life). But if gluten is a problem, the earlier you address it the better. My parents dismissed it totally.

I spent my teenage years in lows, very lows, no fun at all. I was a bundle of misery - the only joy I found was climbing over a fence of a locked swimming pool and swimming in peagreen water which was stored to fight a fire in the factory it belonged to. I practiced swimming underwater for as many lengths as I could and felt a feeling of achievement (and I was all alone - no one knew) and it gave me a sense of power; I knew I could have drowned with my stomach cramps but I really didn't care. The sense of accomplishment was worth it.

The confrontations would send me crazy, but to give in to them would totally deny self, and self at that stage was all I had left. It had to be preserved at all costs. So I was a problem child and I do not apologize for it. I survived, and I am a better person for it because I can help others now, I hope.

Ride out these storms in your life and you will reach calmer waters :)

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Hey Emiluska,

I have spoken to my doctor about it before, with my parents when I was younger. He basically stated I was overly sensitive and needed tougher parenting, and refused to give us any mood stabilisers. My dad took this as gospel and instantly started making the problem worse by 'trying to help me', while my mum moddycoddled it by hugging me every time I bust into tears.

Probably not the best solutions, I'm going to guess.

Congratulations on graduating soon! I hope you enjoyed your course. I only just started mine in Biology and so far it's going OK, though one of the subjects had me so frustrated I burst into tears in the middle of a practical >.< and again when I got home.

I have a new doctor now. I might go and book an appointment, and get some advice.

Yeah. One stupid doctor when you were younger should not stop you from getting help you obviously do need. Doctors aren't always right, and I think in this case, your doc really was VERY wrong. Thank goodness for having a new doctor! Give this one a chance. Hopefully (s)he isn't going to be a dummy. Let us know how it goes!

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hamster- im not a doc, so i am adding a link that explains Excitotoxicity... i have read so much in the past 2 weeks that explains that Gluten (and possibly Wheat Germ Agglutin- which i'll have to look up, not sure)-> can be Excitotoxic. that it can fire up those neurons so much in the brain that they eventually die out.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/e/excitotoxicity.htm

i'll try to look up the other links later

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Thank you everyone for all the advice, shared experience and suggestions. It's good to not feel so alone anymore - I always feel so awkward when my family decides to eat out and I have to ask the poor waiters and waitresses what I can and cant eat. Most places they frequent arent that good for coeliacs, though they're changing that slowly, but as a dairy free diet I always felt off asking questions like that.

I will probably go and see my doctor, though if I'm offered mood stabilisers I probably wont take them and push for some kind of therapy instead. After watching my brother taking meds for most of his life I have an incredible aversion to drug dependency, and I would like to work through these issues than mask them.

I'm on the right road - I can feel it in my gut (quite literally!). I'm less paranoid and less anxious, I have more energy than I ever remember having and I haven't felt this well in many years. Even if I can't get therapy, I'm already on the mend, and with my boyfriend by my side now it feels like nothing can really go that pear-shaped anymore.

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Hi,

There is a strong link between gluten and brain affects. If you try searching for depression, pschizophrenia, bi-polar, ataxia etc and gluten you will find plenty of info on it. Lots of studies out there that show gluten affects the brain and causes various problems. There are also threads on this forum about people's symptoms getting better after going gluten-free.

Some people think there is a link to autism also and some parents put their autistic children on a Gluten-free Casein-free diet.

In celiac the gliaden protein fragments can sometimes penetrate the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream. That's is known as leaky-gut. They can also penetrate the blood-brain barrier and affect the brain. They say the gliaden can act somewhat like an opiate on the brain as it can bind with the same receptors.

Dr. A. Fassano did a study of gliaden penetration where he found that a chemical known as zonulin was involved in the gliaden penetration in leaky gut.

Anyhow, there is no doubt it can affect the thinker-things negatively, IMHO.

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Thank you everyone for all the advice, shared experience and suggestions. It's good to not feel so alone anymore - I always feel so awkward when my family decides to eat out and I have to ask the poor waiters and waitresses what I can and cant eat. Most places they frequent arent that good for coeliacs, though they're changing that slowly, but as a dairy free diet I always felt off asking questions like that.

I will probably go and see my doctor, though if I'm offered mood stabilisers I probably wont take them and push for some kind of therapy instead. After watching my brother taking meds for most of his life I have an incredible aversion to drug dependency, and I would like to work through these issues than mask them.

I'm on the right road - I can feel it in my gut (quite literally!). I'm less paranoid and less anxious, I have more energy than I ever remember having and I haven't felt this well in many years. Even if I can't get therapy, I'm already on the mend, and with my boyfriend by my side now it feels like nothing can really go that pear-shaped anymore.

studies show that cognitive therapy can be just as effective as antidepressants or more.... i will say that when i took Paxil 12 years ago- it was exactly what i needed at that time in my life- it was a temporary crutch i used for a year that i am glad i took. about 5 years ago i went on Paxil again- but this time it just turned me into a zombie. the bottom line- is - its good for a quick fix - sometimes... but i do believe a good therapist could do better :)

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studies show that cognitive therapy can be just as effective as antidepressants or more.... i will say that when i took Paxil 12 years ago- it was exactly what i needed at that time in my life- it was a temporary crutch i used for a year that i am glad i took. about 5 years ago i went on Paxil again- but this time it just turned me into a zombie. the bottom line- is - its good for a quick fix - sometimes... but i do believe a good therapist could do better :)

Antidepressants and mood-stabilizers are very person-specific. I think they're doing genetic testing to try to see if there's a way to tell BEFORE giving someone the drug whether or not it'll work on them. But you're right that the same drug doesn't always work the same way on the same person at a different time in their life, and you're also right that therapy either helps or works completely for a lot of people, too.

I've been in therapy before, but never on an antidepressant. With therapy, it's important to remember that you have to audition your doc - you need someone who will challenge you to grow, but whom you can respect and work well with. That's all interpersonal stuff, so not every therapist works for every person.

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Hi, i know nothing about gluten and mental stuff but i just wanted to send you a virtual hug. I have suffered with depression (officially diagnosed) for 10yrs and had a very sad childhood (in my head). It's awful. I've been hospitalised, suicidal, self harming and anorexia. I've just gone gluten free (due to GI symptoms) and am hoping,as a bonus, with time my depressive symptoms will improve.

Medication for my has literally saved my life but i've had lots of therapy too. Definitely 'audition' your therapist and change if it doesn't work out. If you don't 'click' its a waste of time.

Just sharing the pain. Good luck.

P.S anyone heard of a link with gluten and anorexia?

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Have a glance at my profile. Gluten can definitely cause mental issues!

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P.S anyone heard of a link with gluten and anorexia?

i was anorexic for a short while.. I dont think there's a specific link. However- if it causes &/or aggravates depression and anxiety in many of us- then it could contribute to making us more prone to extreme behavioral conditions. Also, i think that a phase of anorexia could definitely be a trigger to turn the celiac "on"

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I realised that foods could really effect people's behaviour, but I didnt expect gluten to be one of them. Guess because it wasn't as drastic as my brother's allergy I didnt really notice it.

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