Abstract

National Prevalence of Psychological Distress and Use of Mental Health Care in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2022 Mar 24;izac050. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izac050. Online ahead of print.

Ruby Greywoode 1Thomas Ullman 2Laurie Keefer 3

 
     

Author information

1Assistant Professor of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.

2Professor of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.

3Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.

Abstract

Background: Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have elevated symptoms of anxiety and depression. The burden of such symptoms, accompanied by functional impairment in IBD, is not well documented, nor is utilization of mental health care in this population.

Methods: Adults ≥18 years were identified in the cross-sectional 2015-2016 National Health Interview Survey. Responses from the Kessler Index were used to estimate the national prevalence of psychological distress with impairment and mental health-care use in IBD. Factors associated with psychological distress with impairment in IBD were analyzed using logistic regression.

Results: The prevalence of psychological distress with impairment was significantly higher in IBD than non-IBD adults (7.69% vs. 3.50%, respectively; P < .01). Among those with IBD and psychological distress with impairment, only a third (36.29%) had seen or talked to a mental health provider in the preceding 12 months. About half of these found the cost of mental health care unaffordable. On multivariable analysis, factors associated with psychological distress in IBD included increasing emergency room visits and trouble finding a health provider.

Conclusions: A significant number of adults with IBD in the United States have psychological distress accompanied by functional impairment. However, mental health care is underutilized in this population. Many of these individuals find the cost of mental health care unaffordable, struggle to find a health provider, and experience repeated emergency room visits. Ongoing efforts to improve mental health care in IBD should address issues of access and cost. Additionally, these efforts should seek to understand other barriers to mental health-care use.

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