This August, Celiac Disease Foundation and Children’s National Health System jointly exhibited at the American Psychological Association (APA) Convention in Washington, D.C. to promote the Celiac Disease & Gluten-Related Conditions Psychological Health Training Program to thousands of Convention attendees. Launched in February 2016, this free online program provides continuing education to primary care and mental health providers about the psychological impacts of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders, empowering healthcare providers to identify and treat both the medical and mental health aspects of the conditions.

Living with a chronic illness that requires a lifelong commitment to a strict, gluten-free diet can be difficult for anyone, but for children and teens, the emotional and psychological impact associated with celiac disease can have particular and profound challenges. First, celiac disease has hundreds of symptoms, some of which include depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Research also concludes that the teenage brain is especially sensitive to peer approval as teenagers develop the ability to see themselves as others do. Consequently, for all those diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity, and especially for children and teenagers, celiac disease and the need for strict adherence to a gluten-free diet can cause severe stress on families and social relationships, and can contribute to a sense of social alienation, feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, and depression.

There is a critical need for healthcare providers to be more aware and knowledgeable about celiac disease. This includes dramatically increasing the number of cases diagnosed, as well as recognizing and addressing the psychological factors related to living with this chronic illness. Celiac Disease Foundation looks forward to a continuing partnership with Children’s National Health System in the expansion and promotion of this vitally important program.

Click here to learn more about the online program.

Celiac Disease Psychological Health Training Program Featured at APA Convention