Which psychiatric disorders are associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 30, 2019
  • Author: Mohammad F El-Baba, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

Numerous studies have found an increased prevalence of abnormal psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, major depression, personality disorders, and hysteria, in adult patients with irritable bowel syndrome, especially patients referred to medical facilities. These psychological disturbances are not believed to cause or induce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome but are thought to influence the patient's perception of the symptoms and affect the clinical outcome. Stressful events are known to affect GI functions and may lead to exacerbation of symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition, antidepressant or antipsychotic therapy is helpful in some patients with irritable bowel syndrome. A meta-analysis has confirmed the relative efficacy of antidepressant medications in irritable bowel syndrome, particularly in predominantly diarrheic patients experiencing severe pain. [15] Studies have reported an increased frequency of prior sexual or physical abuse in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and other functional GI disorders.


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