Robust Association Between Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Findings from a Nationally Representative Canadian Study

Fuller-Thomson E1, Lateef R, Sulman J. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2015 Jul 24. [Epub ahead of print]
Author information

1Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.


BACKGROUND: Although the link between inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and depression is well accepted, less is known about the relationship between IBD and anxiety disorders and factors associated with anxiety among those with IBD.

METHODS: Data were derived from the nationally representative 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health. The survey response rate was 68.9%. Two sets of analyses were undertaken. First, a series of logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the odd ratios of generalized anxiety disorder among those with IBD compared with those without (n = 22,522). The fully adjusted model controlled for sociodemographics, depression, substance abuse/dependence, pain, and adverse childhood experiences. Second, among those with IBD (n = 269), significant correlates of generalized anxiety disorder were identified using logistic regression. The presence of generalized anxiety disorder was determined using the WHO-CIDI lifetime criteria, and IBD was assessed by a self-reported health professional diagnosis.

RESULTS: Individuals with IBD had over twice the odds of anxiety compared with those without IBD, even when controlling for a range of potential explanatory factors (odds ratio = 2.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.50-3.16). Controlling for chronic pain and childhood adversities attenuate the relationship the most. Among those with IBD, a history of childhood sexual abuse, female gender, and chronic pain are the strongest correlates of anxiety. Those with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis were equally vulnerable to generalized anxiety disorder.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that IBD is robustly related to generalized anxiety disorder. Health care professionals should be aware of the increased prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder among their patients with IBD, particularly women, those in chronic pain, and those with a history of childhood sexual abuse.

© Copyright 2013-2024 GI Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
This site is maintained as an educational resource for US healthcare providers only. Use of this website is governed by the GIHF terms of use and privacy statement.