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Eating a Meal

Is it common to experience social anxiety with celiac disease?

Experiencing Social Anxiety: Image

Feeling anxious or sad while managing celiac disease is common. Research supports the association of anxiety and depression with celiac disease (1-4). The reasoning behind the association is due to many factors, including the stress of adherence to the diet (1) and handling the adverse physical symptoms that come with accidental contamination (4).

Research has also shown a relationship in both directions between the gut and the brain (1). Evidence suggests damage to the intestines could influence the brain, increasing the likelihood of developing mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.

If you feel anxious or depressed, it is very important that you talk to your doctor. 

Experiencing Social Anxiety: Text
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How to Cope with
Social Anxiety

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Image by Courtney Nuss

It can be difficult to navigate social situations while adhering to a strict gluten-free diet.

  • You may have to plan your meals ahead or make quick decisions when out to eat.

  • You may have to explain celiac disease to others that do not understand it's severity.

  • You may feel left out sometimes because you can only eat gluten-free foods.

 

Consider using the tips below on socializing with celiac disease.

Experiencing Social Anxiety: Text
Experiencing Social Anxiety: Features

Tips for Socializing on the
Gluten-Free Diet

Explain in Advance

  • Have a conversation with the host ahead of arriving to an event to explain what you can and cannot eat on a strict gluten-free diet. 

Find Substitutes

  • Do your research to find a gluten-free substitute to take to a party if certain foods are offered that are difficult to make gluten-free. 

Prepare Ahead

  • Make easy meals, snacks, or desserts ahead of time.

  • Freeze leftovers to bring to the next occasion with friends or family. 

Share With Others

  • Invite others to try gluten-free options and learn more about the diet.

  • Cook gluten-free meals with others.

  • Try out local celiac-friendly takeout or dine-in options with family or friends.

Find Support

  • Reach out to friends, family, and healthcare professionals for additional support.

  • Become a member of the Canadian Celiac Association to connect with Canadians across the country that have celiac disease.

References

  1. Slim M, Rico-Villademoros F, Calandre EP. Psychiatric Comorbidity in Children and Adults with Gluten-Related Disorders: A Narrative Review. Nutrients 2018;10(7):875.

  2. Häuser W, Janke KH, Klump B, et al. Anxiety and depression in adult patients with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet. World J Gastroenterol 2010;16(22):2780-87.

  3. Zysk W, Glabska D, Guzek D. Social and Emotional Fears and Worries Influencing the Quality of Life of Female Celiac Disease Patients Following a Gluten-Free Diet. Nutrients 2018;10(10):1414.

  4. Smith DF, Gerdes LU. Meta-analysis on anxiety and depression in adult celiac disease. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2012;125:189-93.

Experiencing Social Anxiety: Text
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