Celiac Disease, Depression and Suicide Linked

It’s long been accepted that celiac disease / gluten intolerance is linked with depression. And if you or a loved one have struggled through years of inconclusive doctor visits, of brain fog, of not feeling good and not knowing why — well, then it’s not hard to see the connection.

The latest study on the relationship between celiac disease and depression comes out of Sweden, and focuses on suicide. The relationship unfolds much as you might expect.

According to celiac.com, researchers looked at approximately 29,000 cases of confirmed celiac disease. The rate of successfully completed suicides was slightly higher than the rate within the general population — particularly for those with celiac disease and inflammation of the gut.

The NFCA has a thorough overview of celiac disease and depression, including resources for those who are currently suffering from depression. I also recommend this article from Psychology Today.

The take-away, for doctors and health practitioners as well as for anyone with a gluten-free loved one (or anyone gluten-free), is simply to be aware. There are numerous reasons why a person could become depressed, and celiac disease is merely one of them (but one that merits heeding).

For more resources in facing depression, have a look at this listing from WebMD or the site of NIMH, the National Institute for Mental Health.

Have you or yours suffered from celiac-linked depression? Did going on a gluten-free diet help?


2 thoughts on “Celiac Disease, Depression and Suicide Linked”

  1. I was depressed for five years before I finally said “enough” and eliminated gluten from my diet. 48 hours later, I woke up feeling like a different person – the depression was GONE and the brain fog had simply disappeared. I don’t think I even knew what bad shape I had been in until I finally was free of it. That in itself was enough confirmation that I was doing the right thing. I’ve never looked back, and am still depression free two years later!

  2. Ten years before gf diet, after medical care for bone pain that kept making me worse, I attempted. This is harder to admit, but before going gf, I pretty much disowned everyone from friends to family; anyone left ususally got pretty sick of my complaints. I am finding it hard to start over with an “even” brain after having destroyed my own credibility. Three years ago this month at 46 yo, in an ER, an FNP wrote me a prescription: Celiac Sprue, and he said make an appointment with a doctor for an intestinal biopsy. I left of course, in a rage and did not make the appointment. But, eventually aftera different ER gave the same advice, for jaw pain, I tried the gf diet with coersion from a co-worker. The plan was, if gf diet worked, I go for the test. In two weeks time I had no more brain fog, stuffiness,insomnia, or IBS. I woke up and felt alert in the morning. My jaw got better so I decided that was dental and my garlic treatment worked. But, I also decided there was no way I was going to go back to eating wheat so a doctor could test me. I felt like my brain had been released from a plastic bag. In months to follow I noticed no more bone pain, asthma, colds, or severe depressive states– through a whole winter! When sensation to heat in my hands returned partially in 9 months, after 20+ year absense, I couldn’t help but suspect a gf diet connection; sure enough. I didn’t always have Raynaud’s anymore, either. With so many improvements I still haven’t gone to a doctor. My GI issues and severe depression did come back twice; both times were with new brands of GF cereals; one got me bad after a couple months in my diet –eventually I figured out the coincidence. I still have mild depression….maybe it’s part of healing or it could be the economy, situational or reaction to the effects gluten had on my life. Before going gf, I had depression diagnosis three times–after bad life situations; and I tried anti-depressents. But, the anxiety, shaking and an inability to talk made care of my child, my job and myself impossible. I’m wondering…What experiences others with Celiac Disease and depression have had with anti-depressants before and after going gluten free?

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