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Celiac Disease and Psychosis: A Scary Story

Celiac Disease and Psychosis: A Scary Story

This is some serious sh*t.

Most people with celiac disease realize that the symptoms go WAY beyond stomach discomfort. The disease can also mess with your brain. When I asked the community to send me their celiac disease symptoms, some of the more common ones mentioned were brain fog, irritability, mood swings, and short temper.

But what if I told you there was actually a case of celiac that caused a woman to become so delusional, she eventually tried to kill her parents? Yep. The full story, published May 12 in The New England Journal of Medicine, is here, but I am going to bullet point it for you since I’ve already read it about 13 times.

  • A 37-year-old woman was studying for her Ph.D. Although she was stressed at this time, she had no other symptoms of anxiety or depression.
  • She began having delusions. Her first symptom was a belief that people were talking about her as part of a larger conspiracy in which family, friends and random people were part of a game and acting out scenes for her.
  • After making threats to her family, she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with a psychotic disorder.
  • She was prescribed anti-psychotic meds, but they did not work.
  • During her stay, the doctors noticed some vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as weight loss and thyroid issues.
  • She was tested for and diagnosed with celiac disease by Dr. Alessio Fasano.
  • Her delusions led her to believe the doctors were lying to her so after she was released, she did not follow a gluten-free diet.
  • The woman lost her job, became homeless and attempted suicide before being re-hospitalized at a psychiatric facility and put on a gluten-free diet, where she came to understand that gluten was causing these behaviors.
  • During the time the doctors were working with the woman, she inadvertently consumed gluten on several occasions, Fasano said. When this would happen, she would become completely lost, he said. But when she was gluten-free, she was well aware that she needed to avoid gluten because “she [didn’t] want to go to ‘that place,’” Fasano said.
  • Completely avoiding gluten, her symptoms went away.
  • But when she inadvertently ate gluten one time, her delusions returned and she attempted to kill her parents.
  • She is now in jail.

While this situation may indeed be unique, it just goes to show the power of our disease and how it can manifest itself. We all know inflammation is so bad for our system. It’s bad enough in the gut, but when it travels to your brain? I’ll let Dr. Fasano explain:

“Fasano likened the effects to a battle waged in the intestines: When someone has celiac disease, the immune system views gluten as the enemy, and deploys weapons to fight it, he said. Inflammation can be thought of as the collateral damage of the fight, he said. When the battle takes place in the intestine, people end up with inflammation there, he added.

But sometimes, the immune cells that wage war against gluten in the gut are able to leave the battlefield and go elsewhere. If those immune cells go to the brain, the same collateral damage — inflammation — can occur there, Fasano said. And depending on factors such as the location of the inflammation and the amount of time it has been there, the consequences can vary, he said.”

This post needs no follow up commentary from me.

Like I said…some serious sh*t.

#NoCureNoChoice

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