Why have I been referred to a psychiatrist? Has anyone else?

I've recently been disagnosed with gluten intolerance and so I've switched my diet. I'm underweight and I was also referred to a dietician which has been really helpful. I don't understand why the consultant referred me to a psychiatrist as well. I did ask him but I didn't get an answer. Has any one else seen one? I feel annoyed as I feel like I'm being labelled as having an eating disorder without any help. Now that I've got the help of a dietician and some direction it's great, I just don't understand this bit?!

23 Replies

  • Hi physiogirl, now if I remember rightly you have self diagnosed yourself as needing a gluten free diet and presumably this is because it helps your IBS. This is not a criticism it is just to establish the facts and we have many members who are self diagnosed and if it works then the proof of the pudding...

    Anyway in answer to your question I obviously had symptoms of being a coeliac from an early age and I was always referred to as have a delicate stomach as I used to get sick and have an upset stomach as a young child and when I was 6 years old I was referred to see a psychiatrist, who just said that I didn't need to see a psychiatrist.

    Later in life in my 20's when it all kicked back in again I was told that it was probably tension and I realised that I just had to let time run it's course and in the fullness of time all would be revealed or I'd go crazy trying to convince medic's other wise. 13 years later I was diagnosed as I had severe anaemia and all was revealed and I did not feel neurotic or act neurotically as I could see that it was pointless trying to convince others.

    And as far as medic's were concerned everything had changed as I was now a diagnosed coeliac and in the system so I had a medical label hence my earlier questions and comments. So my advice is to ask your GP why you have been referred to a psychiatrist and as for being made to feel neurotic this is up to the individual and the more we try and explain ourselves or convince others the more neurotic we appear, it is one of life's ironies.

    If it is any consolation to you, you are far from alone as the majority of 'us' took many years before being diagnosed. And many members of GFG self diagnosed out of sheer frustration and you have read what many of 'us' have to say, so if you think we sound like we're neurotic then you do need ferapy from a psychiatrist...

    So good luck and just go with it and don't try and prove anything just smile sweetly and let them strut their stuff and all will be revealed eventually.

  • Hi Jerry, to provide clarification I am both self diagnosed as well as having this confirmed by a professor of gastroenterology. He was the one who referred me to the psychiatrist!! You're post is extremely reassuring as I don't think your neurotic at all! I can completely understand having had problems since I was around 6yrs old. It was in my mid 20s when my symptoms really flared up and I ended up in hospital. They couldn't find anything then and diagnosed me with IBS! I went to a psychiatrist then and kept fighting to be listened to but nobody did. You're so right. I need to stop trying to convince other people and just keep smiling!!! Thanks Jerry; great words of advice.

  • Hello physiogirl. I haven't been referred to a psychiatrist but one of the doctors (not my usual one) muttered something about cognitive behaviour therapy. Not quite sure why. Neither of us pursed it and I think it was a bit of a perfunctory offer along with other possibilities like dieticians (who I have seen) etc as the doctor was not getting anywhere with me. However, I did know a chap who had crohn's disease, but for a while, before he was diagnosed, his parents thought he was neurotic as the doctors couldn't find anything wrong with him. I must admit that I feel a bit neurotic about eating sometimes eg when I am out and dependent on others for food, because I know that if I eat the wrong thing I could be in big trouble for a few hours. Although my friends have made a lot of effort to cook gluten free stuff for me I know some of them don't understand my concerns and have suggested I try something regardless of the consequences. It has taken a while but I have got better at telling people exactly what will happen if I eat the wrong thing. Sometimes I deliberately give them too much information! It would be easy for my friends to think I am neurotic partly because I have always been a fussy eater and secretly probably think this is another food fad, but thanks to reassurance from people on this site I know I am not! I did find the dietician a help with regard to FODMAPS (the elimination diet) but after that she was not so helpful. And I think FODMAPS was one of the most empowering processes for me because I have the evidence that particular food causes problems. Have a good Easter!

  • Hi urbangirl, you said:

    ''I must admit that I feel a bit neurotic about eating sometimes eg when I am out and dependent on others for food, because I know that if I eat the wrong thing I could be in big trouble for a few hours''

    Now it is natural for a coeliac to fear food and food prepared by others especially in an environment that handles wheat. It is not an irrational fear it is a very real and valid fear as gluten IS toxic to a coeliac and one thing is for sure it is not neurosis full stop it is self preservation.

    Only another coeliac can comprehend how another coeliac feels and some coeliac are more sensitive than others and this can cause friction as one can eat what i call allowed levels of gluten with no ill effects whilst the other is made ill by these traces. So what the more sensitive coeliac has to realise is the other is oblivious to their needs. To make this point some coeliac still eat Rice Krispies which used to be classed as gf and because these foods do not appear to make them ill they think that they are safe.

    So lets take this analogy one step further and imagine that a wheatie who can eat anything is like someone who can only see in black and white and various shades of grey so they hear the words but have no comprehension of colours and just imagine brighter greys etc. Then see the less sensitive coeliac as someone who is colour blind so they cannot differentiate between red, green or blue so they have to believe what they are told these colours are. Whereas the sensitive one KNOWS and they know because their body tells them.

    Lastly why do so many coeliac/gluten intolerant people feel isolated and avoid eating out? answer; the fear of food and being made ill, it is not a phobia/neurosis it is self preservation. And how would a wheatie feel if they were offered food prepared in a poison factory? would they feel a little won't hurt or would they feel indignant?

    So say to your self I'm a coeliac/gluten intolerant and I'm alright...

  • ;) Thanks Jerry - you are right! Have a good day!

  • Two points:

    On the eating out issue, I seem to be very lucky: friend check out places for me and make sure I have a choice. That level of support is, I think really important.

    On the main point about seeing a psychiatrist: I'm surprised that that has come up so soon after diagnosis. Having had a diagnosis - and therefore the chance to improve things - I would have thought that it would seem sensible to wait for a while to see how things turn out. You talk about being diagnosed by a professor - was this at a hospital? The specialist I saw also referred me back to my GP on the grounds that he would know more about my case. Again, that's the sort of thing I would expect to happen with others.

    It does seem a bit sudden so I do think it would be useful to ask why the referral was made (referral to a dietician might be more urgent). It may be worth a chat with your local PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) just to find out more about the process.

  • Great suggestion, thanks. I've just sent them an email!

  • Hi physiogirl,

    My story has echoes of both yours and Jerry's. In hindsight, I now realise I started experiencing symptoms before I was six years old. Nobody realised this, (including myself) until 2012. My symptoms weren't blatantly obvious for many years. I had an isolated issue here and there; usually many years apart - but was considered a 'normal' child. In more recent years I knew I was lactose intolerant, but the penny never dropped that I could be gluten intolerant as well. Life was always a struggle energy wise, but I thought this what everybody else also experienced because I'd never known any different.

    I used to be terribly suspicious and snooty of NHS mental health services, feeling that they were for other people and not for me.

    Since diagnosis though, I've found them to be very useful. Counselling has helped me come to terms with a number of outstanding issues from my past that were still having an impact on my current life. It also helped me get my head around the changes I've had to make on the road to my current level of GF wellness.

    As somebody else suggested, find out why you were referred to the psychiatrist. If you feel that there's even half a chance it could be useful to you, then don't be afraid to take the help on offer.

    Good luck.

  • Hi regalbirdy, I'd already asked my GP to refer me for counselling for a number of reasons and I started this process a couple of weeks ago. The psychiatrist I'm not so sure about as it all sounds so serious and I'll need to travel 1.5hrs to get there. I wondered about asking the councellor her advice at my next appointment and also chat to my GP as I'll never get hold of the consultant who referred me to the psychiatrist; what are your thoughts?

  • I think talking to your councillor about it is a really good idea. They may be able to offer you some insights about what a psychiatrist could do for you on this occasion; and also help you to make a decision about whether you should go.

    I also think talking to your GP isn't too likely to elicit the information you want, because they often only have limited access to hospital letters and records.

    Have you thought of trying to get hold of the consultants secretary? Sometimes that can be a useful thing to do. I've been quite pleased with the help secretaries have given me when I have been unsure of something in the past.

  • Hi regalbirdy, may be the fact his secretary resigned and walked out on the same day (the day I had my appnt with him) says it all!

  • Hmm...!

    Someone must be filling in for the one who walked. I still think you should consider talking to them. After all, someone once said that it is better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all.

  • I've just seen this after my reply above - you look to be doing exactly the right thing. Check out with your GP - s/he should be able to give you much more information.

  • I first saw a consultant a year into having stabbing pain that was walkin me in the night and felt like a six inch nail pinning me to the bed 3/4 times a week. If it happened during the day I had to take myself away from my work area and lie on the floor star shaped. When I was comfy at the weekend I would sleep all day catching up on the sleep that I had lost. I told him I was fed up with not knowing what the cause was. For this he wanted me to go on anti depressants and sleeping tablets. I was then furious. I told him to take a sleeping tablet himself and I would then come in and stab him and asked if he thought he would wake up. He just didn't seem to be listening. It was my dr who helped with the stabbing pain and the dietician. The consultant was certain it was just IBS but my anaemia seems to be proving him wrong. I have also lost a stone in weight and struggling to put any back on at the min. I've been eating 4/5 small meals a day but one bad day can undo the work I have done. My own dr were my bloods are concerned keeps saying the cause needs to be found

  • Dear tetloww, your comments made me chuckle...sorry! Did he then suggest an ager management course?! I admire your self-confidence and putting him in his place. Having lost loads of weight I'm also trying to put it on. I eat small meals and snack little-an-often (twice an hour at least) keeping dired fruits, nuts, seeds nearby which is now helping as I refuse to let this get in the way of my training. Good luck :)

  • avoiding gluten is imperative as the complications of damage to the intestine go on regardless of how you feel, if you eat gluten damage is done. the book Coeliac Disease by W T Cooke and G K T Holmes (1984) explains this The book is now out of print and when I spoke to Prof Holmes at a Coeliac UK ,AGM some years ago he said it was unfortunately too expensive to update. I don't know why the medical profession are so peculiar about Coeliac Disease, the diet keeps us well, you would think they would be pleased !!!!!! If you are near an academic library try looking up articles in GUT and other magazines for the latest on Coeliac disease,

    In the sixties the liked to label my problems "psychosomatic" or Spastic colon, When I finally received a definitive diagnosis it was such a relief and also like magic to have energy and feel well, amazing

  • Thanks Venetia, the term "spastic colon" amuses me as that's the term the professor I saw used! I'll definately check out GUT magazine.Thanks

  • IBS used to be known as spastic colon before we had acronyms for everything.

  • Reading all this is enough to make anybody weep tears of frustration. It took me back to my mother being asked if I was a 'nervous child' due to my terrible eczema that needed bandaging every night (aka dermatitis herpetiformis) and my avoidance of most food whenever possible. I was the 'rice krispy kid', and so lucky that my parents seemed to pick up that it would be wrong to try to force me to eat things that made me ill. This was the 1960s when intolerance was the order of the day. I am sure that I'd have been branded anorexic if I was a child now. Even 30 years of chronic anaemia and occasionally saying I felt tired (put down to 4 children or 'heavy periods') and the fact that my aunt had been sent home to die with coeliac as a baby (but saved by the 'banana diet') was not enough for them to guess. Nowadays, I'm just branded neurotic as I'm now ridiculously sensitive to gluten but failed to have an endoscopy. I deemed this unnecessary as I had extremely high blood antibodies and biopsy-diagnosed dermatitis herpetiformis. But if you don't conform with medical dogma, you are just another dodgy, neurotic woman in a gastroenterologist's eyes!

  • protocols and guidelines rule their heads unfortunately....

  • Hi all, It turns out that (according to my notes) I was referred due to my low body weight. PALS have been really helpful and now the services manager is looking in to it to find out more details about the referral process. As a side point, can doctor make a referral without gaining consent? To my knowledge they can't. I just don't want this to happen to anyone else as the referral was inappropriate. If he'd have asked I could have saved him time as I'm already having help with weight gain!!

  • Depression often goes along with these award winning diseases. I've had MS for 42 years and the neuro keeps talking about depression. From previous experience, I know I can't take any of the meds so on I go. Trying every alternative I can. Chiro, acupuncture, diet, stress reduction, etc. etc. You're in the driver's seat, so to speak. You have the final say on what/who you're going to see.

You may also like...