Screening children with ADHD for celiac disease

Lola O
Should all children with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) be screened for celiac disease?

Answer


There is some overlap between possible celiac disease (CeD) symptoms and those of ADHD, but this does not mean that all children with ADHD should be screened. Each child's individual situation should be assessed by the healthcare team involved in diagnosing and providing care.

When a diagnosis of ADHD is being made, the healthcare team involved should give consideration to other factors or conditions which could be playing a role in causing symptoms. One such condition could be CeD. Screening for CeD may be appropriate in some cases, such as if other symptoms of CeD (e.g. gastrointestinal distress, nutrient malabsorption, poor growth) are also present, or if there is a history of CeD in the family.

Children with undiagnosed or untreated CeD may exhibit behavioral disturbances like those that can occur in ADHD. Research has shown that children with CeD may have a higher risk of experiencing psychological issues such as behavioral problems and depression. These symptoms generally improve once a gluten-free diet is started and maintained.



References:

Coburn SS, Puppa EL, Blanchard, S. Psychological Comorbidities in Childhood Celiac Disease: A Systematic Review. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 Aug;69(2):e25-e33. PubMed PMID: 31149937

Ertürk E, Wouters S, Imeraj L, Lampo A. Association of ADHD and Celiac Disease: What Is the Evidence? A Systematic Review of the Literature. J. Atten. Disord. 2020;24:1371–1376. PubMed PMID: 26825336

Guar, Sonia. The Association between ADHD and Celiac Disease in Children. Children (Basel). 2022 Jun; 9(6): 781. PubMed PMID: 35740718

Niederhofer H, MD, PhD Association of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Celiac Disease: A Brief Report. Prim Care Companion NCS Disord. 2011; 13(3): PCC.10br01104. PubMed PMID: 21977364

Niederhofer H, Pittschieler K. A Preliminary investigation of ADHD symptoms in persons with celiac disease. J Atten Disord. 2006 Nov;10(2):200-3. PubMed PMID: 17085630

Published February 7, 2024

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Lola O'Rourke, MS, RDN. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Lola O'Rourke, MS, RDN by providing this information.

Visited 282 Times, 1 Visit today