A study shows that depression affects IBD patients and their siblings

Living with a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis—both forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—affects every aspect of a person’s life. These diseases not only affect physical health, but also affect mental and emotional health.

Research shows that mental health problems among people with IBD are common. People with IBD are 2 to 3 times more likely to have depression and anxiety than the general population, reports the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

It’s easy to see how the symptoms of IBD, including severe diarrhea, chronic pain, fatigue and loss of appetite, can lead to social isolation and feelings of depression. But recent research suggests that the relationship between the two conditions may be a bit more complicated than that.

A new study published in April 2022 in Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, found a bidirectional relationship between IBD and depression (meaning that people with one condition are more likely to develop the other). What’s more, this association extends to siblings of people with either disorder, suggesting a genetic component to the association between these disorders.

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