NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Comorbid symptoms of anxiety and depression are worse in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) compared to those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a new meta-analysis shows.
“Although the prevalence of depression was similar between IBS and IBD patients, the study found that depression and anxiety was more severe in IBS patients compared to IBD patients,” Dr. Qin Geng of China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing and his colleagues note in the Journal of Affective Disorders, online May 4.
Depression and anxiety occur frequently in people with IBS, IBD and other chronic gastrointestinal disorders, Dr. Geng and colleagues write. “Adequate research on the comorbidity of depression and anxiety in these conditions is necessary to develop appropriate screening, plan treatment strategies and rationalize utilization of health resources,” they add.
They analyzed 22 studies including a total of 2,292 subjects, 1,244 with IBS and 1,048 with IBD. Both depressive symptoms (pooled standardized mean difference, 0.18) and anxiety symptoms (pooled SMD, 0.31) were significantly more severe in the IBS patients than in those with IBD.
There was also a higher prevalence of depression in the IBS patients, but the difference was not statistically significant.
There are several possible explanations for why symptoms of depression and anxiety are worse in IBS than in IBD, the authors note. “IBS is a functional disease that is considered to be greatly influenced by psychological factors, whereas IBD is an organic disease in which comorbid psychiatric problems are often secondary to disease itself,” they write.
Past research has found that people with IBS are more distressed and report having less support regarding their physical symptoms than those with IBD, the authors note.
They conclude: “Appropriate assessment and treatment of depressive and anxiety symptoms in these patient groups should be implemented.”
SOURCE: J Affect Disord 2018.