You're already doing everything that you know how to do in order to treat your Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); you're following the right diet, eliminating foods that aggravate the symptoms, exercising, taking your medication and doing whatever else the doctor tells you. However, have you sought treatment for the anxiety and depression that often accompanies IBS? If not, you might be missing an important part of treatment. This is what you should know.
The Connection Between Depression, Anxiety, And IBS
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you're already excruciatingly familiar with the abdominal pain and cramps, plus the gas, bloating, and sudden bouts of diarrhea. The fear of IBS flare-ups can cause you to withdraw socially, avoid family functions, skip out on church, and just lose interest in the things you used to enjoy.
After all, how can you make plans with other people when you know your IBS may have you racing for the bathroom in the middle of something? You can't concentrate on anything when you're always feeling sick and in pain, either. And many people find the gas and diarrhea to be embarrassing, and don't want to discuss what's making them sick, even with close friends.
All of those aspects of IBS can combine and leave you feeling depressed and constantly anxious about the next flare-up. In turn, the anxiety and depression can combine to trigger your sensitive intestinal system into another attack and cause the IBS to flare.
At some point, the psychological and physical affects can begin to cycle back and forth, leaving you miserable most of the time.
Types Of Psychological Treatment That Can Help IBS
It doesn't matter whether your IBS came first or the depression and anxiety came first. Treating both is the only sure way to break the cycle between them.
Treatment with antidepressants may become necessary in order to control your IBS. However, antidepressants aren't just directed at treating the psychological distress caused by IBS. Some antidepressants can alter the way that your brain perceives pain, reducing the physical distress you're suffering.
Antidepressants aren't necessarily the only way to treat the psychological aspects of IBS. Other types of treatment that may be useful include:
Research has shown that as many as 90% of IBS patients suffer from some sort of disorder like anxiety or depression as well. It's easy to understand why. Treating the anxiety and depression as a disorder that's connected to your IBS may be as important as making dietary changes and following any other recommended treatment in order to get your symptoms under control. For more information on depression/anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome treatments, talk to a local doctor.
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