Some research has just come out of the University of Toronto showing that people with Crohn’s or colitis are two times more likely to have generalized anxiety disorder as people who don’t have inflammatory bowel disease. Here’s the link to the abstract of the original article.
The original article discusses overlaps in the demographics and life experiences of people who tend to have IBD and anxiety: both conditions tend to be associated with chronic pain, depression, being female, and being white. The overlap the researchers found between IBD and anxiety is much higher than would be statistically likely even taking these commonalities into account, though.
One thing that the study doesn’t discuss is causation. It is not clear whether IBD leads to anxiety, and/or whether anxiety and IBD come from the ways a person handles stress, whether medicines for anxiety exacerbate IBD and/or whether medicines for IBD make anxiety worse, and/or the types of stress a person is exposed to in their life, etc. There could be multiple pathways and mechanisms involved, and there might even be vicious circles of causes and effects.
Regardless, the authors talk about how IBD and anxiety are often found together in the same people, and so it’s worth it for medical professionals to think about how this combination negatively affects sufferers and what they can to do to help.