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Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2016 Mar;22(3):752-62. doi: 10.1097/MIB.0000000000000620.

Controversies Revisited: A Systematic Review of the Comorbidity of Depression and Anxiety with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

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*Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, United Kingdom; †School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia; ‡School of Health Sciences, Department of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia; §Department of Mental Health, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; ‖Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; ¶Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; **Division of Gastroenterology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; and ††Department of Clinical Health Psychology, College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.



Although mental health concerns are known to occur commonly for those with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), the nature of this comorbid relationship has not been systematically reviewed to date. A review in 2007 identified 5 controversies regarding anxiety/depression rates and various comparators between and within IBD. We aimed to systematically analyze and critique the current evidence regarding this comorbidity, providing an update to the 5 controversies.


Ebscohost Medline, CINAHL, Embase, and PsychINFO were searched between 2005 and 2014 using systematic review methodology. Controlled quantitative studies examining either symptoms or diagnoses of anxiety and depression in IBD were included in the review, with study quality assessed using a scale developed a priori to evaluate observational research.


(1) IBD versus healthy controls (pooled mean proportions) (n = 13 studies): anxiety 19.1% versus 9.6%, depression 21.2% versus 13.4%; (2) IBD inactive versus IBD active disease (n = 26): anxiety 28.2% versus 66.4%, depression 19.9% versus 34.7%; (3) ulcerative colitis versus Crohn's disease (n = 28): anxiety 31% versus 37%, depression 22% versus 24.4%; (4) IBD versus other chronic medical conditions (n = 17): anxiety 41.9% versus 48.2%, depression 14.5% versus 28.4%; (5) onset of anxiety/depression before or after IBD onset (n = 2): adults more likely to develop anxiety/depression before IBD onset, but a substantial proportion develops depression after onset; an increased risk for children of developing anxiety/depression after IBD onset.


The high rates of anxiety and depression for those with IBD, particularly when disease is active, warrant a systemic approach to screening and treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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