IBD: The Hidden Culprit of Depression and Anxiety


by Hamna Bano

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It has been studied that almost 30% of the population with inflammatory bowel distress experiences depression or other types of psychological issues such as anxiety.

Dr. Gerard Honing is currently serving as the director of research innovation at Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in NY. “While the overall impact of the disease on the overall quality of life no doubt plays an important role in triggering anxiety and depression in IBD, there is also increasing evidence of direct biological connections between IBD-associated inflammation and neuropsychiatric diseases,”

He went on to say that depression and anxiety are high in patients who are suffering from IBD. This claim is further solidified by the research that IBD directly has an impact on the disruption of the gut-brain axis.


If we are to further explore the gut-brain axis it is a two-way channel that exists between the brain and CNS (Central Nervous System). The new study suggests that the inflammation of the gut is linked with the communication system that is responsible for the transfer of information between blood and CSF. it is not like the blood-brain barrier which allows the transfer of macromolecules, rather it allows the flow of small molecules.

In mice who were suffering from IBD, the gateway was disrupted. This leads to further cementing the speculation that brain inflammation in IBD can lead to cognitive mental issues.

The authors concluded that:

“Our data support the possibility that at least part of the behavioral and cognitive alterations that have been described in patients with IBD may result not from the enhanced inflammation, as generally hypothesized, but rather from the defense strategy activated by the organism to protect the brain from damage and guarantee its function.”