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Inflammatory bowel disease doubles anxiety disorder risk

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Toronto: People who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have twice the odds of having a generalised anxiety disorder at some point in their lives when compared to those without IBD, says a new study.

The researchers found that female IBD sufferers are particularly vulnerable to anxiety disorders.

Women with IBD such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis have four times the odds of anxiety when compared to men with IBD, the findings showed.

“Patients with IBD face substantial chronic physical problems associated with the disease,” said lead study author Esme Fuller-Thomson, professor at University of Toronto in Canada.

“The additional burden of anxiety disorders makes life much more challenging so this ‘double jeopardy’ must be addressed,” Fuller-Thomson noted.

Data for the study were drawn from a representative sample of more than 22,000 Canadians.

A total of 269 respondents reported that they had been diagnosed by a health professional with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

“The study draws attention to the need for routine screening and targeted interventions for anxiety disorders, particularly among the most vulnerable patients with IBD: women, individuals who are in chronic pain and those with a history of childhood sexual abuse,” study co-author Joanne Sulman from University of Toronto pointed out.

The study was published online in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.