Celiac Disease and Anxiety
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. People typically experience this type of anxiety in situations such as a first date, an interview for a dream job or a really important test at school. When anxiety becomes excessive and irrational and affects your daily life and relationships, it is considered a disorder. This type of negative stress, called distress, can cause people to become consumed with fearfulness, worry and uncertainty. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 40 million American adults aged 18 and older. Anxiety disorders may occur simultaneously with depression, which can cause both symptoms to worsen if the conditions are not treated properly.
What is the Connection between Celiac Disease and Anxiety?
People with celiac disease face a number of stressors both before and after diagnosis.
Before a Celiac Disease Diagnosis:
- Researchers are currently unsure if anxiety symptoms that begin before diagnosis are related to the presence of celiac disease
- Some evidence suggests that people who experience anxiety before diagnosis will feel better and less anxious after adopting the gluten-free diet
- Some symptoms of anxiety overlap with symptoms of celiac disease, such as nausea, dizziness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, and not being able to be calm or still
After a Celiac Disease Diagnosis:
- Many individuals with celiac disease often find diagnosis to be a relief, however others develop more symptoms of anxiety as changing the diet can be a stressful experience
- Anxiety may be common in females with celiac disease
- Anxiety is often related to the challenges of disease management
- The constant attention to avoiding cross-contact can lead to fears related to eating or dining out
Where Can I Learn More?
Do you or a family member suffer from anxiety? You may have celiac disease. Find out now. Take our Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist.