Psychiatric Comorbidities in Women with Celiac Disease

October 6, 2011

Psychiatric Comorbidities in Women with Celiac Disease


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Celiac women on a gluten-free diet may be at risk for depression and disordered eating, study finds.

Once diagnosed, people with celiac disease become much more aware of their food intake. The gluten-free diet requires great attention and caution, two factors we know significantly affect a person’s quality of life. But can the attention to dietary detail lead to other health issues?

A new study published in Chronic Illnesssurveyed 117 women with celiac disease about dietary compliance, illness symptoms, psychiatric functioning, and disordered eating. Responses indicated that 37% of women meet the threshold for depression, and 22% exhibited signs of disordered eating. Women in both subsets experienced greater perceived stress and diminished mental health.

Interestingly, a high degree of compliance to a gluten-free diet was related to greater overall mental health and lower stress, as well as to more frequent disordered eating concerns and behaviors.

The researchers concluded: “The presence of disordered eating symptoms in the present sample indicates that attending to the risk for extreme thoughts and behaviours related to eating and shape is a large area of opportunity for improving quality of life in women with celiac disease.”

To learn more about this study, visit Sage Journals Online.