Can Coeliac Disease Cause Anxiety?
The answer to this question is yes!!
My 10 year old has lately been having terrible bouts of morning anxiety, so much so, she is crying her eyes out, not making any sense as to what the problem is. She is also a Coeliac.
Everything is the problem: her tummy hurts; she’s very tired; her legs hurt; its too cold; she doesn’t want breakfast but she’s hungry etc, etc. It’s very difficult to sort out and calm her down so I end up giving her a day off school. By lunchtime she’s OK …. until the following morning when it starts again.
It seems to me that her gut is detoxing from gluten and it’s affecting her mood.
Her morning anxiety started in March, 2017, when she was confirmed as being Coeliac. She now follows the same strict gluten free diet as me as well as no lactose, rice or grains (with the exception of corn, a vegetable/grain). Her little body is healing very slowly.
My research has found there is a link between Coeliac Disease and anxiety. There is much to discover about the gut biome and its link to other parts of the body including how it affects the brain. Very interesting indeed.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the body’s way of helping us cope and react to stress. Positive stress, called eustress, is a form of anxiety that affects mostly everyone. Typically experienced in situations such as a first date or a really important test at school. When anxiety becomes excessive and irrational and begins to affect your daily life, it’s considered to be a disorder. This is negative stress, people can become consumed with fearfulness, worry and uncertainty. Anxiety disorders may occur simultaneously with depression, which can cause both symptoms to worsen if the conditions are not treated properly. Hence my concern about our daughter – who has not hit puberty yet. Ultimately, there is a possibility her anxiety can become worse and lead into depression.
What is the Connection between Celiac Disease and Anxiety?
Support is crucial, knowledge is key and acceptance is a virtue. You can’t anticipate or control every situation your child will be in so the best defence is to educate yourself, your child and those around you.
Coeliac can actually cause anxiety as a symptom and what makes celiac disease interesting, is that it’s not clear why this anxiety occurs. Most likely it has to do with the way that Coeliac affects nutrition. It’s possible that vital nutrients that control anxiety are unable to reach the brain, thus causing the development of anxiety symptoms. There are also other reasons that anxiety may occur.
Fatigue and Other Symptoms
The same symptoms that resemble anxiety may cause anxiety. Experiencing mental fatigue can be very stressful and prolonged stress may develop into anxiety symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms can also cause severe stress and anxiety. Dealing with any long term physical health issues may result in the development of anxiety.
Coeliac disease also causes sleep issues. Sleep is one of the most important tools for controlling anxiety. In fact, sleep deprivation can lead to severe anxiety symptoms if you are unable to make up for the sleep that you have lost.
It’s possible that something that affects the intestines is simply a direct cause of anxiety as well. Both share similar neurotransmitters and connections. Researchers are still trying their best to figure out what the link is, but there is a strong link between the intestines and the brain, which is why some researchers call the gut the “second brain.” Remember, even when you have coeliacs, not all anxiety is going to be caused directly by oceliac disease. Living with any health problem can cause anxiety simply because people can experience fear over that health issue. That’s why they should be treated as separate conditions, even if coeliac is causing your anxiety.
(the above information is from Beyond Celiac see link below)
Here are a few more helpful resources: