New research suggests that young individuals with severe symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are more likely to experience poor mental health, and thus need additional support.
Researchers at the University of Manchester and Edge Hill University surveyed 130 young individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) regarding their feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, friendship quality and embarrassment.
The findings showed that experiencing more severe symptoms of IBD was linked to the development of mental health problems. Furthermore, unpredictable disease flare-ups led to anxiety and embarrassment about symptoms such as pain, belly noises, incontinence and/or urge to use the toilet. This often results in the avoidance of social activities and subsequently loneliness and poor mental health.
Professor Bernie Carter from the Edge Hill University said: "While the focus on physical symptoms is important, our study reveals the importance of creating opportunities for talking about well-being and mental health." "It seems important, then, that patients have opportunities to discuss their mental health within their usual clinics, and that sustained friendships with peers are encouraged," added Professor Pamela Qualter from the University of Manchester.