Celiac disease and mental health burden

People with celiac disease are more likely to suffer from mental health problems. A study at University Hospital of Cagliari, Italy, found 30% of celiac disease patients had experienced major depression during their lives, 18% had panic disorder and 4% had bipolar disorder. In contrast, a control group showed a prevalence of 8%, 5% and 0.4%, respectively.

The study included 60 celiac disease patients and 240 randomly selected controls. The volunteers took computerized interviews and questionnaires to assess psychiatric disorders and quality of life.

Patients with celiac disease scored lower than normal on quality of life. This finding agreed with other research showing patients report impaired quality of life similar to that for serious chronic diseases such as end-stage liver disease. However, in this study celiac disease patients without psychiatric disorders did not score low on quality of life.

This indicates a key to the burden of treatment for people with celiac disease. The authors recommend screening celiac disease patients for mood and anxiety disorders, particularly if they show symptoms or have a family history. Appropriate treatment could reduce the burden of living with celiac disease.


Carta MG, Conti A, Lecca F, Sancassiani F, Cossu G, Carruxi R, Boccone A, Cadoni M, Pisanu A, Moro MF and Demelia L, “The burden of depressive and bipolar disorders in celiac disease,” Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 2015, 11:180-185.

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