Certain digestive ailments can lead to anxiety
A new Canadian study suggests that people with inflammatory bowel diseases are twice as likely to be depressed or suffer anxiety because of their condition. The group of diseases, which includes Crohn’s Disease and various colitis ailments, causes inflammation throughout or in portions of the digestive track. Symptoms lead to severe diarrhea, pain, fatigue and weight loss, and can be debilitating and sometimes embarrassing for suffers.
“Patients with IBD face substantial chronic physical problems associated with the disease,” said lead-author Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, in a news release. “The additional burden of anxiety disorders makes life much more challenging so this ‘double jeopardy’ must be addressed.”
University of Toronto researchers looked at 22,000 Canadians. Of those, a total of 269 respondents reported that they had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Women were especially susceptible to anxiety at the rate of four times more men who had the diseases, according to the study. Controlling their moderate or chronic pain created the strongest level of anxiety among those surveyed. In addition, those who reported a history of childhood sexual abuse were six times as likely to suffer from anxiety.
“Crohn’s usually starts early, sometimes in high school and carries severe forms of diarrhea, and pain,” says Dr. Sakhie Husain, gastroenterologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “Since there are no cures and treatment doesn’t always work, patients are often extremely nervous, anxious and tense for life.”
While many medical experts believed it was common knowledge the link between inflammatory bowel diseases and anxiety, few studies had really looked into the issue. The study underlines the connection between mental and physical health.
“People need to understand the relationship between these diseases and the possible need for psychotherapy help to combat the feelings of embarrassment and anxiety,” says Dr. Hussain.
The study was published online this month in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
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