Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Found in IBD Patients
A recent study in Frontline Gastroenterology indicated that almost one in five patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease met the psychological definition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (1). PTSD is generally defined as an anxiety disorder that happens to some people who have experienced or seen a traumatic event. Recently the definition has been expanded to include things like serious illnesses such as cancer or HIV infection.
The inability to anticipate flare ups of IBD, severity of symptoms and the numerous medical tests or surgeries that patients may face is thought to be why PTSD is being seen in IBD patients. The problem is that a PTSD might be missed by physicians who are not as familiar with the condition.
Some of the symptoms of PTSD can include but are not limited to: "recurring dreams/thoughts, avoidance tactics, irritability and sleeping difficulties" (1).
There is a physical toll for not taking care of these psychological issues as well. Post traumatic stress that continues for a long time can change the way the immune system responds. It can also alter some hormones and limit restorative sleep cycles. All of those things have the potential to increase flare ups of IBD and lead to even more serious issues with the patient's health.
If you have any of these symptoms or are the caregiver to some one who does it is very important to seek treatment. PTSD can be cured with treatment. Getting the body and the mind healthy is the best way to manage IBD.