Mental Health

The Very Real and Deep Depression of Celiac Disease

The Very Real and Deep Depression of Celiac Disease

There is a definite connection between celiac disease and depression. Celiac disease causes malabsorption or the inability to absorb nutrients from food. Also, dangerous substances pass through the gut and into the bloodstream which impact brain function. 

his actual physical inability to absorb nutrition can affect the brain significantly and cause depression. Studies prove that those with celiac disease are 18 times more likely to develop depression in comparison to the general population. There is an immense impact on daily life because of the stress and anxiety that comes with trying to manage a life-changing and chronic illness.

What is depression?

A bout of the blues that you eventually snap out of is situational depression. This type of depression doesn’t have long-term effects, but if it turns into feeling a persistent sadness, you could be entering into clinical depression.

Mood disorders can cause your physical body to shut down. Depression brings on feelings, including a lack of interest and extreme sadness. Clinical depression or major depressive disorder causes problems with how you behave and think, how you feel, and can lead to physical as well as emotional problems.

Symptoms that persist include:

  • Angry outbursts, frustration or irritability or small things
  • Sleep disturbances that include sleeping too much or insomnia
  • Reduced appetite and the resulting weight loss or binge eating and excessive weight gain
  • Inability to make decisions, thinking troubled thoughts, and remembering things
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, suicide attempts
  • Physical problems such as headaches and back pain
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Slowed body movements or the feeling you are moving against a barrier

If any of these problems are severe enough to interfere with work, activities, or just getting out of bed, there is help. Embarrassed about seeking mental help? Over 40 million adults in the United States or 18.1 percent of the population experiences anxiety, mood disorders, and depression. These disruptions are treatable, yet only 38 percent of those with depression seek treatment.

Major depressive disorder can develop from a chronic disease like celiac disease, and it can last for years. Depression is not a sign of weakness or that you are going crazy; it is real, and it is treatable.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine. Those with celiac disease are genetically predisposed to this condition and characterized by the eating gluten that leads to damage in the small intestine. One in 100 people worldwide are affected by celiac disease, and two and one-half million Americans go undiagnosed. People who go undiagnosed, just let celiac disease “take its course” are at risk for long-term health problems. Some of these problems include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, anemia, infertility, epilepsy, and migraines, short statures and intestinal cancers.

Many people who have chronic illnesses like celiac disease go through bouts of depression, and many have had depression for years. Chronic diseases that disrupt life, like celiac disease, are known to cause depression or a very low feeling of self.

The best-known treatment for celiac disease is following a gluten-free diet. A change in diet means avoiding foods containing wheat, barley, and rye. Favorite foods containing gluten are breads and beers. Even a small sip from a pint of beer can cause a celiac reaction.