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Anyone with coeliac disease and also a family history of alcoholism and/or schizophrenia?

(16 Posts)
RubySparks Thu 11-Feb-16 19:30:05

I was diagnosed with coeliac disease about 6/7 years ago and then subsequently with hypothyroidism and some deficiencies, B12 and vitamin D. I have probably had problems for a long time before diagnosis and I am now in my 50s.

A family occasion a few years ago revealed a family history of coeliac, type 1 diabetes and thyroid issues. I'm now looking back and wondering about my parents alcoholism and diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia - this would have been in the 70s.

Is it possible that their real problem was coeliac disease (known to cause neurological symptoms in some people) and not schizophrenia and the alcoholism was self medication? Parent died 20 years ago so would there be any way to find out from medical records?

sadie9 Thu 11-Feb-16 20:53:22

Schizophrenia is a well defined disorder, with a certain set of symptoms, which are fairly unmistakeable. With onset in late teens early adulthood. So not caused by coeliac. Or all people who are coeliac or many coeliacs would have it.

RubySparks Thu 11-Feb-16 23:30:06

Thanks I was more wondering if it could be misdiagnosed as not everyone with coeliac will have gut symptoms, some will have neurological problems. Or if there is any association between the two, maybe with the auto immune component.

AnotherEffingOrangeRevel Fri 12-Feb-16 07:39:03

I think there is a reasonably well established link between coeliac disease and schizophrenia, OP. I don't know how well this link is understood, but I think a gene associated strongly with coeliac is very close to an area of chromosome where schizophrenia-associated genetic material is found, so this is one possibility. Most people with diagnoses of schizophrenia don't have coeliac, but I can see why in your parent's case you're wondering.
It must be hard not to know as much about their history as you'd like.

AnotherEffingOrangeRevel Fri 12-Feb-16 07:48:15

Personally, I would actually say the opposite of Sadie, and state that "schizophrenia" is very poorly defined with an extremely variable course and presentation (many would contest it being a distinct "disease").

RubySparks Fri 12-Feb-16 12:48:44

Thanks that is interesting! I would love to be able to go back and do a blood test, it would have saved many years of misery sad. I think there has to be a link in this case and it is just shocking to think that it was missed.

AnotherEffingOrangeRevel Fri 12-Feb-16 14:07:24

Ruby, I think that the link between CD and schizophrenia is there statistically (in some studies at least) but no one really understands the mechanism by which they are linked. It may be that even if your parent had CD as well as "symptoms of schizophrenia", then treating the coeliac disease wouldn't have had an impact on psychosis (or other symptoms of mental illness) anyway. I don't think it's generally thought that one causes the other or anything. It must be hard not knowing, in any case.

hiddenhome2 Fri 12-Feb-16 16:22:53

Coeliac disease has also been linked to autism if that's of any interest as well.

PoshPenny Fri 12-Feb-16 17:33:25

I read somewhere that there is a link between alcoholism and hypothyroidism.

RubySparks Fri 12-Feb-16 18:50:18

Thanks Penny, I will look into that too - hypothyroid/alcohol.

RubySparks Fri 12-Feb-16 19:12:26

OK just realised I probably shouldn't drink! And that huge anxiety following drinking is maybe not just part of being hungover... I have barely had more than a couple of drinks since being so ill with coeliac anyway as felt so unwell most of the time I didn't want to add drinking to that.

Auto immune disease is the gift that just keeps giving, isn't it?

Natsku Fri 12-Feb-16 19:17:12

Coeliac disease here with a family history of alcoholism. 1 aunty and 2 uncles are alcoholics/recovering alcoholics and my mother has Coeliac disease - none of her siblings have been diagnosed with it though (but I don't know if they've ever been tested)

Ex has Coeliac disease and recently presented with psychosis so possible Schizophrenia there (his first episode was in his late teens/early 20s) although I'm not sure.

RubySparks Fri 12-Feb-16 22:07:45

That's interesting, any other auto immune diseases? There is type 1 diabetes and also Addison's disease in some family members on same side as coeliac is.

elephantoverthehill Fri 12-Feb-16 22:24:00

I know this thread is not a competition but in my family I can claim CD - 3 sisters, alcoholism- most, Addison's disease and one cousin with diabetes 1. Others experiences with these issues are very interesting.

RubySparks Sat 13-Feb-16 08:56:37

I think it is really interesting too! I do a lot of googling to try to figure things out. I found GP and consultants take a simple approach of just go gluten free and take your thyroxine.... But looks like there is a lot more to know about some of these illnesses.

Natsku Sat 13-Feb-16 09:40:59

Well I diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 8 years ago but weirdly it went away by itself (I stopped taking the meds after my prescription ran out and didn't know how to renew it as I was new in the country then) - my thyroid levels have been in the normal range nearly every time I've been tested since. No other auto-immune diseases that I know of.

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