Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Linked to Crohn's Disease


A recent study of more than 500 Crohn’s disease patients in Switzerland found that almost one in five suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a type of anxiety disorder. This is felt to be due to the stress experienced during the diagnostic process, treatment regimen and everyday battles with Crohn's physical symptoms. Further, those patients with both Crohn’s disease and PTSD were 13 times more likely than other Crohn’s patients to have worsening of their digestive symptoms.

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and malnutrition. Most patients eventually require surgery but it does not cure this chronic disease. Patients often become distressed due to the diarrhea and the need to significantly modify their lifestyle due to the illness.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, long recognized for it’s association with war and other horrific events, has recently been recognized as an unfortunate manifestation of serious, chronic illnesses. Treatment for PTSD is available from mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists and psychologists.

Those suffering from Crohn’s disease or other chronic illnesses who have symptoms of PTSD, such as upsetting dreams, irritability, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, insomnia and difficulty concentrating should discuss their symptoms with their treating physician.

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