Celiac disease can take a toll on children’s mental and emotional health, even when they are compliant with the gluten-free diet, a new study reports.
Researchers in Italy analyzed 100 “well-treated and compliant” children and adolescents with celiac disease, and compared the presence of emotional and behavioral problems to that of 100 controls. According to the study, individuals with celiac had higher rates of anxiety and depression and also scored higher in “harm avoidance” and “somatic complaints,” based on self-report.
Researchers also noted a gender difference in children with celiac; males seemed to have more “externalizing” symptoms like attention and social problems, while females had more internalizing issues like depression.
Based on the results, researchers stressed the importance of early detection of mental health problems in children with celiac disease.
To download the full study, click here.
Children with celiac disease often report a desire to feel "normal" and participate in birthday parties and other activities with friends. For advice on how to support your celiac child, read these articles: