Depression linked to celiac disease

Lana Bandoim's picture
depression and Celiac Disease

Several studies have found a connection between depression and celiac disease, but a clear cause and effect relationship has not been established. Some people who have this disorder also experience the symptoms of depression, and research indicates it is worse in untreated celiac cases. However, a wide range of experiences have been recorded that indicate treating celiac disease does not automatically eliminate depression.

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Depression is characterized by multiple symptoms including sleep problems, loss of interest, problems thinking, feeling worthless, thoughts about death, lack of appetite, lack of energy and mood changes. In addition, it is possible to experience physical symptoms that can include pain in the body and emotional transformations. Everyone’s depression is unique, so the symptoms can vary from person to person.

A study published in Chronic Illness reveals that women who have celiac disease are more likely to have depression than compared to people without the disorder. Similar results have been seen in other studies including men, children and teens. Researchers believe that the stress of the disease in people who have not been officially diagnosed is greater, so they are experiencing depression at higher rates. However, patients who have been diagnosed and are following a gluten-free diet are also reporting depression.

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Multiple issues were mentioned by study participants and ranged from concerns about their weight to frustration with the disease. The restrictive diet and other problems can create stress, anger and irritation. All of these factors contributed to the higher rates of depression. It is also important to mention that some research indicates malabsorption of nutrients could be affecting mental health and leading to depression.

Symptoms of depression should not be ignored by people with or without celiac disease. It is important to seek professional help and reach out to friends or family. If you are considering suicide or having thoughts of death, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

Image: Sander van der Wel/Wikimedia Commons

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