Gluten Intolerance Causes Behavior Problems?-- No Way!
Gluten Intolerance Causes Behavior Problems?-- No Way!
Little did I know how much food itself (and gluten intolerance) would become a major turning point in our lives. I had heard about gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance which causes symptoms of upset stomach, IBS, etc... but psychological issues and bad behavior? Now that was a new concept!
Introducing my 3 year old, Emily. She was always a challenge. My first daughter, now 6, was the perfect baby. Always smiling and always a pleasure to be around. She ate well and slept through the night early on without any problems. So, when Emily arrived, I assumed it was the classic case of one good/easy child and one more demanding one. I definitely didn't think she would be gluten sensitive.
Emily still got up at least one time a night until she was around 1-1/2 years old. Sometimes she couldn't settle down to get to sleep and other times she would just wake up in the middle of the night in the absolute worst possible mood for no apparent reason. She couldn't be calmed down either. She could not/ would not calm down until the "fit" subsided. She screamed (literally) until the fit was over.
Many, many a night my husband and I tried to figure out what was wrong with our discipline plan- it had worked for our older daughter. Was Emily not getting enough one on one attention? Well, that couldn't be it, I was a stay-at-home Mom. Did she have too much sugar? We always limited the girls' sugar- especially before bedtime. We were even careful with giving our girls artificial colors and sweeteners as they had shown themselves to be culprits in other family members' behaviors such as causing hyperactivity. She didn't show celiac syptoms so we ruled that out early on.
So what was going on? Guess she was just "blessed" with my strong personality genes. During the day she was in my hip carrier most of the day because otherwise she was unbelievably cranky. We just couldn't wait until Emily could talk. We figured once she could verbalize her irritation she would say it and then just get over it.
As she got older, Emily's tantrums became literally too much to handle. We heard all the typical responses from well-meaning people such as - we need to discipline better, teach her who's boss, spare the rod and spoil the child, etc... Unfortunately NO discipline worked. My husband and I even decided to try a parenting seminar for extra ideas.Here again, gluten sensitivity was something we didn't even think to look for.
As time went on, I was starting to see that we were dealing with a very different child. I started asking my Mother and other relatives, "Was I this difficult when I was younger?". I was a challenge, no doubt, but definitely not to the extent of our little Emily. I had just decided that she is the way she is and there's no changing her. We just hoped that one day the pent up aggressive tantrums she now had would somehow be re-focused toward something more productive as she got older.
As Emily approached her 2nd Birthday I was becoming overwhelmed with her behavior. Nothing I did made her happy and the mornings were horrible. Would she wake up happy or mad? What can I do to make and keep her happy? The stress was unbearable. My life revolved around avoiding the next tantrum. I decided that for the benefit of both Emily and myself, a change needed to come.
Two weeks after Emily's 2nd Birthday, I went back to work. For the first time ever, my girls- 4 and 2 entered daycare. It absolutely broke my heart but I reasoned that Emily would do well associating with peers her own age and our 4 year old could start to get prepared for Kindergarten. Emily had some separation issues as expected but nothing major at that point. It was a small church daycare so they were really good at loving on the kids and not being very strict. As time moved on, however, we started to see major behavior issues starting to brew. Long story short, she became very demanding and would hit and / or throw a tantrum lasting sometimes an hour over something so insignificant as not receiving a baby wipe when she thought she deserved to have one. She didn't want to play with others her age. She preferred playing by herself.
After 8 months we decided to change daycare centers - assuming Emily wasn't being challenged enough and perhaps would do better at a large daycare center.
At the new center, there were new activities, new toys, a new environment and a teacher that absolutely let Emily get her own way with everything (we didn't know that at the time). In the 2 year old classroom life seemed to be good. We thought our prayers had been answered.
Then Emily turned 3 and entered a new room with centers and more rules. The first two weeks were fine- a "honeymoon period" if you will. Following those two weeks, however, our nightmare was just to start. Emily refused to work with her teachers. She would do the absolute opposite of everything she was asked to do. She refused to stay in a center and her temper tantrums got WAY out of control. She spent more time at their office (which she probably enjoyed better) than in class. She was totally disruptive. She would throw chairs, hit, spit - anything to NOT do what she was supposed to. Children in her class would GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to not get near her. They were actually afraid of her! The teacher, after one particular day,refused to come back to work if Emily was in her class again.
Ok, so something was seriously wrong. She seemed to be worse at school (daycare) than home. Maybe there was too much MSG or artificial sweeteners or colors in her snacks? Well that HAD to be it... What else was left? So.... I started bringing ALL of her snacks. Lunch was ok because it was all homemade so that couldn't be the culprit! All of her new snacks had natural colors (from vegetables) and no artificial ingredients. They had LOTS of whole grains because they are healthy, right? Whole grain bars, color-free wheat crackers- she was at least getting healthy grains. Emily, during this time, moved to the 4s and 5s room. Maybe she just preferred a different teacher? Again things improved for about two weeks. Was it the room, change in kids, new atmosphere, or the new snacks?
All was good except that darn rash. Now it was getting warm again and she was getting the same rash she's had previous years. It resembled Poison Ivy. There were bubbles that would itch and hurt her at the same time. Last year we had taken Emily to the doctor for it and he wasn't sure what it was. He gave us a cream to use that didn't help.... and here we go again with it. It would make her grumpy because they would itch while she tried to sleep. She wouldn't keep her shoes on at daycare because her feet itched so bad!
Well, the behavior came back full force this time. She was EXTREMELY aggressive and it was even mentioned that she could have "Oppositional Defiance Disorder". Her tantrums couldn't be controlled, she couldn't focus and she had Dr. Jekyl / Mr. Hyde type of aggression. Emily would rage, even to the point of really hurting teachers - and remember - she was 3!
I was told that she needed to be evaluated for her behavior in order to remain at that daycare. The "specialists" aka Psychologists saw a definite problem, possibly ADHD or other behavior but they couldn't tell the daycare of any particular "trigger" that was causing it. I was then expected to seek help from more knowledgeable child Psychologists. Everything was pointing toward Bi-Polar Disorder.
After a couple more weeks with more aggressive, rage behavior Emily was removed from that daycare. Honestly, they had done all they knew to do. They couldn't continue to disrupt and stress out all the other children because of her behavior.
The day she was removed was horrible. I felt it was my fault. I wasn't a good enough Mother- either not strict enough or maybe not loving enough. She has my genes- it's my fault. Bottom line, I didn't know what to do. Keeping her out of daycare and staying home again (just to keep her shielded) didn't seem like the right thing to do. I prayed that day for an answer. I was absolutely at the end of my resources. I wasn't willing to put my child on medication for the rest of her life but it looked like that's where we were headed.
My Mom had picked Emily up from daycare so that I could have a meeting with them. After the meeting, after praying in the car, I ran an errand. I went to the Natural Food Store in the area that I so frequently visited to pick up a supplement. The girls who work there came over, as always, to chat. They immediately saw the despair in my face, then the tears rolled.
I recapped the last few weeks, explained that I had eliminated the normal reactive foods from Emily's diet and to no avail. Now what- I didn't know what to do. That's when gluten intolerance was suggested to me. The easiest way to see if gluten is a problem for someone is to COMPLETELY eliminate it from the diet. What?? Gluten?? I thought that just causes stomach problems! I was enlightened that day. Symptoms can show themselves as the following:
Allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes),
Red Face/ Ears, Stomachaches,
Loose Stools or Diarrhea,
Alternating Diarrhea and Constipation,
Immune, Inflammatory and Autoimmune Reactions,
Elevated Blood Pressure,
Ringing in the Ears,
ADHD Symptoms (decreased attention, hyperactivity, impulsivity),
Autism Symptoms (poor eye contact, social withdrawal, decreased language, obsessions, repetitive behaviors)
In all of my well-meaning, healthful snacks, I had replaced all of the so-called "bad" foods with something that Emily was sensitive to. I was OVERLOADING HER with gluten!
Wow! So, does that mean I can have hope again? Oh, well, wait a minute. Isn't gluten in EVERYTHING? I thought people who were "gluten free" were more along the health-food nut spectrum! Ok, easy enough.... I'll just buy EVERYTHING in the store that says gluten free. Problem solved. Yeah right, not so. Little did I know just how much gluten-free foods could taste like straight up cardboard or worse yet, HARD cardboard. I thought the days of good, moist, tasty foods were gone. They can be but if you follow my advice, you'll be safe. I found gluten-free food and recipes that actually taste good!!
So where are we now? We have come a long way in just a few months. We started using THE supplement for behavior issues, toxicity and sickness/ viruses- Our systems are clean so they can function better. Our whole family is gluten free mainly for the ease of it. It's easier to cook one kind of meal than two. Emily is back at the original, church run daycare and doing VERY WELL!
Gone are the tantrums lasting hours, terrible mornings (Emily wakes up happy most days now). The rages are gone, the aggression is gone too. Granted, she does have her moments as she IS 3 but nothing like before. She speaks so well! It's almost as if she can think better these days. She's not violent anymore and the bi-polar symptoms are gone. She actually gets upset if someone hurts her feelings or hurts her. She doesn't seem to have much of a recollection of how she used to be.
Yes, the results are THAT dramatic! Emily sleeps all night without the horrible screaming fits in the middle of the night. She's actually a pleasure to be around. Oh! And that rash that used to keep her miserable is also gone. One might say "That's just a coincidence, maybe she grew out of her symptoms" but that's not the case. We had Emily tested for allergies. She had no known allergies to any other food product and we also resumed gluten containing foods for about four days. During that four day period, Emily started getting very irritable again AND on the fourth day her rash started coming back- how's that for proof!? We are convinced that gluten is a problem for Emily.
I have noticed changes in myself as well. I'm not as anxious and stressed. My heart doesn't race like it used to, I sleep more soundly, and my stomach isn't bloated after eating like it used to be. I don't even crave bread anymore. Gluten sensitivity seems to be an issue for me as well. I still eat gluten-free bread but don't crave foods like I used to.
My goal with this information is to educate individuals in ALL aspects of gluten sensitivity. Celiac symptoms can show but there are other symptoms to look for as well. It's not just about stomach issues and IBS. Gluten sensitivity can show itself at ANY age.
Children can display the behavior and psychological symptoms early on and the stomach issues can then surface later in life. Or, babies could have the stomach issues early on. Colic could actually be caused from gluten sensitivity from the formula he/she consumes.
By the way, if you are thinking of going gluten-free, you should make sure your system is clean so that it is able to function better. Really, you should do this anyway. See what I mean at the website listed at the bottom of the article. At the website homepage click under "Cleanse".
Gluten Causes Bi-Polar, Rage, ADD
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This entry was posted on 7:47 AM and is filed under Before , BiPolar , causes , Gluten , Leaving , Things , Vacation . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.