Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just one more thing to worry about with allergies

According to a recent study, children with Celiac Disease, like those with any chronic illness, are more at risk for emotional and behavior problems than their peers. 
I don't think it's a huge leap to say any food allergy would work similarly. 
And I can't help but wonder if this is what plays a part in my kid's anxiety issues.  Is it related to trichotillomania?  Or the anxiety driven tantrums? 
I don't know.  But I can't change the way our family's dietary restrictions work without hurting us.  So I can only hope that we can continue to reassure, that the interventions we've chosen are helpful, and that as a society we become more supportive of food restrictions for any reason. 
Why would kids with dietary restrictions be more at risk for emotional problems?  To my way of thinking it's understandable when they are required to go to school, but school personnel and their peers don't always 'get' allergies.  When other parents are busy fighting for their children's right to eat peanut butter, the food allergy kid is hearing "you're ruining things for everyone".  When pizza is served to 19 out of 20 kids and the food allergy child gets to grab their own personal lunch from their backpack, they get the message that they aren't as special as the rest of the class.  They have to put up a wall to remind themselves to say no, to be polite, to be different. 
I don't know what the answer is.  But awareness helps.  And hopefully therapists will learn a bit about food allergy; and the difference between medically restricted diets and eating disorders. 

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