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The Connection Between IBS, Anxiety and Depression

Paola Kulicheva, Zhivko Apostolov, Liliya Raeva, Boris Botev, Dinnar Yahya


Introduction: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by three major symptoms : abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. A large number of studies suggest the importance of the brain - gut interaction in IBS. According to the latest researches, it was determined that IBS affects around 11% of the population globally, 50% to 90% of them report psychiatric disorders including depressive symptoms such as exhaustion, sleeping problems and loss of appetite, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and somatization disorder.

Materials and Methods: We systematically searched online databases for randomly selected samples of general community populations. The current research outlines conclusions from data obtained from a wide-ranging and selected at random population sample that may elucidate these relations.

Results: Studied data shows that IBS occurs in over 40% of individuals with panic disorder, and in patients with IBS, 25% to 30% have panic disorder, which has lead to speculation about potential common pathophysiology between the two. According to several studies, generalized anxiety disorder is more common in the early course of irritable bowel  syndrome, whereas depression is prevalent in patients with chronic IBS symptoms. On the contrary, psychiatric patients suffering from depression and generalized anxiety disorder have a significantly increased prevalence of IBS.

Conclusion: The gathered information suggests that there are common neurobiological factors involving brain-gut interactions, depression and anxiety. The available data suggest diagnostic overlap between psychiatric disorders and irritable bowel syndrome, with similar demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients.


irritable bowel syndrome, psychiatric disorders, IBS


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