Crohn’s Disease Puts Young People at Higher Risk for Depression

An individual struggling with a disease is understandably more prone to depression. Perhaps they are struggling with their illness or even with facing their own mortality. For many years, physicians believed that this was a mental state of dealing with an illness. For others, it is their struggle that makes them more susceptible. For young people dealing with Crohn’s disease, there is a significantly increased risk for depression and anxiety, according to research done at the Mayo Clinic. This information was shared on the MedPageToday website which shared information about the Digestive Disease Week conference. Edward Loftus Jr., M.D. of the Mayo Clinic noted that individuals younger than 18 with a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease were more than twice as likely to have a diagnosis of depressive disorder than those young patients not suffering from Crohn’s. Depression was also found to be 70 percent more common in these young patients. Fortunately, those suffering from Crohn’s were not more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder, substance abuse or eating disorders. Dr. Loftus highlighted that earlier studies have indicated that depression is a common state for those with Crohn’s disease, especially in younger patients. Teens and pre-teens are especially at a pivotal point in their lives where they are more vulnerable. “You bring in a chronic disease, and if that goes on, especially untreated or inadequately treated for a long enough time, that can affect their whole psyche,” he said. “They’re worried about, ‘Where is the bathroom, I have to get up in the middle of class, everyone will see me going to the bathroom’ — you can imagine a whole set of concerns and angst about that.” Studies in adults have shown that successful treatment of Crohn’s disease leads to a reduction in depressive symptoms, giving hope for those young people dealing with these complications.

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