While meeting with Mary, she briefed me on a study she is conducting on the psychological aspects of food allergies and how this study differs from the majority of previous studies that mostly focus on quality of life issues related to living with food allergies. The hope of Mary and the rest of the team is to get to the root of what is happening to families that sometimes contributes to deeper (more…)
The phone rings…it’s my friend calling to see if I would like to come over to dinner. Little does she know that I have just been diagnosed with Celiac disease and I’m now nervous about eating at other people’s homes…
I’m still learning what to eat and how to read labels. I feel my heart beat increase, and my palms start to sweat. “What is this weird feeling,” I ask myself. I feel like I’m going to panic…and all over a social invitation. “What’s wrong with me, this shouldn’t be a big deal. It never was before, I’ve always just done what I wanted.” Oh yeah, I remind myself, it’s because I don’t know if I will be able to eat if I go over. Maybe I just shouldn’t (more…)
When you have a child diagnosed with a severe food allergy it can be extremely challenging to help them feel comfortable and safe in social situations. While living with food allergies may always present challenges there are a few things you can do as a parent to help your child manage their fears and anxieties.
First and foremost…you must try and remain as calm as you can, while still watching out for them. When you get very worked up and anxious in front of your child, they feel this and it passes on to them. Teach them to be cautious and what to watch out for, but (more…)
1. Validate your emotional experience. Don’t tell youself that you shouldn’t feel the way you do or that how you feel is stupid. Talking negatively to yourself will only increase your anxiety because negative self talk is not effective in changing emotions. Say to yourself, “It’s okay that I’m nervous. It makes sense. Despite that, I can do this!” Approaching, not avoiding is what helps us deal with intense negative emotions. It helps us learn that despite their presence, they are (more…)
Kathleen (not her real name) came to counseling because of anxiety. After an intake, we identified several areas in her life that sounded like they were contributing to her difficulties. We started working with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a system that looks at the thought sequence you use, and where a distorted belief can be corrected and thereby relieve suffering.
After teaching her a series of formulas, she was able to apply the principles herself when not in the office with me. This is a very effective psychotherapy intervention, that is so useful that many insurance companies paying for counseling expect to see it as part of a treatment plan. But, it did not seem to offer Kathleen the relief I was expecting. So, we continued looking elsewhere in her life for the source and solution of her anxiety. If it wasn’t her thinking causing it, perhaps it was situational. (more…)
“An estimated 40 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorder.” (1) These 40 million people total 18.1 percent of the United States that are at least 18 or over. (2)
According to “Recognizing Celiac Disease” anxiety is common in people with celiac disease and may be the only manifestation. Celiac disease patients showed high levels of state anxiety in a significantly higher percentage compared to controls – 71.4% vs. 23.7%.(3)
Chronic maladaptive anxiety is characterized by vague uneasiness or unpleasant feeling of apprehension and dysfunction. It is marked by anticipation of danger and interference with normal functioning, ranging from mild qualms and easy startling to occasional panic, often with headaches and fatigue. Deficiency of amino acids and vitamins implicate reduction of synthesis of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system and could be linked to immunological disregulation in celiac disease patients. Anxiety itself causes depletion of vitamins and minerals. Deficient nutrients could be B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, tryptophan.(3)
A medical study evaluating bloodflow in the brain showed evidence of significant blood flow alteration in the brains of people with celiac disease who had only anxiety or depression neurological symptoms and were not on a gluten-free diet. Single photon computed tomography (SPECT) scan showed at least one hypoperfused brain region in 73% of untreated celiac disease patients compared to 7% of patients on a gluten-free diet and none in controls.(3)
Therefore, bloodflow in the brain and nutritional deficiencies play a large part in anxiety. If nutritional deficiencies are the source of the problem, then medications will be less effective requiring increasingly strong doses because the body and brain do not have what they need to utilize them.
The good news is that studies showed state anxiety improves and can usually disappear in people with celiac disease after withdrawal of gluten from the diet and improvement of nutrient status.
Consider celiac disease if you or someone you know has anxiety.
Celiac disease is a multi-system, hereditary, chronic, auto-immune disease estimated to affect 1% of the human population (3 million in the US) that is caused by the ingestion of wheat, barley, rye and oats. It is treated by removing these items from the diet. Signs, symptoms, associated disorders and complications can affect any part of the body and removal of the offending foods can result in complete recovery.
“Recognizing Celiac Disease” is a reader-friendly reference manual written for both medical professionals and the general public that specifically answers the call from the National Institutes of Health for “better education of physicians, dietitians, nurses and other healthcare providers.” It has been endorsed by top medical professionals and professors at Harvard, Columbia, Jefferson and Temple Medical Schools as well as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and the Celiac Sprue Association – USA. “Recognizing Celiac Disease” is being hailed as the complete guide to recognizing, diagnosing and managing celiac disease and a must-have for physicians, dietitians, nutritionists, nurses, patients and anyone with an interest in this complex disorder.