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03-16-2011, 11:56 PM   #1
co2
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Crohn's and Anxiety

So, I have noticed an overwhelming amount of people on here mentioning that they take an anti-anxiety drug for stress or anxiety. I myself take the occasional klonopin. I have to ask, is there a link, direct or indirect, between crohn's disease and anxiety issues? How many people take something for their anxiety? Is it caused by the stress of the disease? Have we as crohnies developed into highly anxious people because of it? Is there an effect on the brain of the disease itself, through blood deficiencies or something indirect? Is this common amongst people who deal with a chronic illness?
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03-18-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
tiloah
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For me the anxiety definitely came before the Crohn's. I have never been medicated for it. I think it has improved significantly since certain elements of my life were changed. But it's definitely still there.
03-20-2011, 01:35 PM   #3
Rebecca85
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I think it's a bit of both. I have a phobia, which is classed as an anxiety disorder. I have had this almost as long as I can remember, well before diagnosis. Having said that, there is a possibility that I have had undiagnosed Crohn's most of my life.

But having a chronic disease does play havoc with serotonin levels- which may play a role in anxiety symptoms (since SSRIs which increase serotonin can be used to treat anxiety disorders like OCD). So who knows which came first!
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03-20-2011, 02:01 PM   #4
Mountaingem
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My doctor said there is both physical and mental aspects to it. An autoimmune disease basically puts your whole body on red alert. When you overproduce white cells and inflammation, it causes anxiety as one of the ways your body tries to warn you something is very wrong. I can definitely attest to that because when I've had terrible anxiety that isn't related to anything going on in my life, it's a sure sign of a flare-up.

Also, the drugs we take for Crohn's causes nasty side effects. For me personally, Methotrexate has stopped my ovaries from working and so put me into menopause at 37,
which causes anxiety for sure. And prednisone-well it always makes me have nervousness, anxiety, and terrible panic attacks, along with insomnia.

Crohnnies also frequently have vitamin deficiency which can also cause anxiety-I was having terrible panic attacks and a blood test showed I was extremely low on potassium, B vitamins and calcium. I took infusions of vitamins for three months and didn't have any more symptoms.

And let's face it-the daily worries that come with Crohn's-will I have an accident today-etc. cause a tremendous amount of stress. Guilt always comes with it for me because I feel I let people down when I'm unable to do certain things.

So, a round of anti-anxiety drugs for all-lol!
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03-20-2011, 02:11 PM   #5
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had panic attacks since 1982 plus agorophobia. had to leave lots of big jobs, but i take xanax- 5 mg daily, saved me, but for me, the 20 years of stress a vit d deficiency and being a smoker was the triple play and gave me crohns
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03-21-2011, 08:39 AM   #6
partlycloudy
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I weaned myself by half of my SSRI late last year and have been in a low-grade flare since then. There's definitely a connection personally.

I've always had a problem with anxiety though (also have a phobia) and have wondered if that has contributed to my being susceptible to digestive disorders. I had IBS before Crohn's.
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03-21-2011, 08:55 AM   #7
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Suffered from anxiety since I was a child, I have no doubt that it was a factor in Crohn's kicking off.

One thing that frustrates me is that my mental state is never mentioned, asked about, discussed at any point, even when I was briefly on an SSRI (which also effect digestion along with stress/anxiety)
03-27-2011, 05:43 PM   #8
Jamie Lyn
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I have probably Crohn's and have struggled w/ anxiety related depression and OCD most of my life. I am currently stable on Lexapro and have also done bio-feedback and counseling which helped tremendously. When there is more stress in my life, I do notice my sx getting worse.
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03-28-2011, 09:48 AM   #9
mallenfaye
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I am a recently diagnosed Crohns sufferer and i am feeling very anxious and depressed about it all! I get the feeling its just part and parcel of this horrible disease! have suffered with depression in the past but I am determined not to let it beat me and I am staying off the drugs........ well thats my plan. But its not easy!
03-28-2011, 11:56 AM   #10
moogie
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I always thought of myself as a stressed out guy.

But as the years go by I think that I will need help dealing with all the stress. I think that dirty dishes now stress me I think it's getting that bad.

I never thought of taking medecine for it but now I think I should. For me the more stress I have the sicker I become.
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03-28-2011, 12:13 PM   #11
Jer's Girl
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For me the anxiety definitely came before the Crohn's. I have never been medicated for it. I think it has improved significantly since certain elements of my life were changed. But it's definitely still there.

I am compleatly the same.
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03-28-2011, 03:24 PM   #12
tiloah
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I always thought of myself as a stressed out guy.

But as the years go by I think that I will need help dealing with all the stress. I think that dirty dishes now stress me I think it's getting that bad.

I never thought of taking medecine for it but now I think I should. For me the more stress I have the sicker I become.
You should definitely talk to your doctor about this. Even if you decide medications are not the best route, they can give you some coping mechanisms and teach you how to reduce anxiety.
03-28-2011, 05:19 PM   #13
cheeky
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yes i've read that there's a link between anxiety/depression and crohn's (also systemic diseases in general)

i am not on meds for anxiety but once in a while i consider it, i do notice my anxiety symptoms heighten prior to or during flare ups

i wake up suddenly at night - jump up with my heart racing feeling scared and like i forgot something and kind of in a daze, i also cry more often and get depressed and very emotional and have dark thoughts but definitely i get more edgy.
03-30-2011, 05:37 PM   #14
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I've never had to take meds for anxiety either---it has never been that debilitating for me--The anxiety I get is stressed induced anxiety and always lifts after the external stress-er gets out of my life..lol praying helps me.

My GI never asks how my mental state is either--they don't say anything to you like--having Crohn's might cause you to be depressed or cause you to be anxious.
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Last edited by Lee; 03-30-2011 at 05:40 PM.
03-31-2011, 04:33 AM   #15
Dras
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I've always been a very stressed person, so much so that I lost a most of my hair overnight when I was 8. I take a herbal anti anxiety thing but thats just because my stress levels worsen my crohns dramatically... and omg pred makes me a monster...my poor boyfriend and family who have to deal with my moods...
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06-07-2011, 01:28 PM   #16
schnicken
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I have always been a worrier, however never experienced anxiety before until now. I left my job, am having trouble finding one, have insomnia from the anxiety.

I have used Immovane to help me sleep, but even that is now not working. I used Gravol, but it upsets my stomach.

I just want something to turn off my brain until I get a job and can move into a new apartment (neighbours are up until 1am walking on their heels and I hear everything).

What would be your recommendation? What you have taken? I have to function daily and go to interviews and study for second language tests. I need something for the night time only, so that I can relax and sleep. During the day, my anxiety is fine. I will start to learn other techniques, but at this point they do not work due to my situation.

I am seeing a psychologist, but I want to be ready to suggest something. She is trying not to medicate me as I don't wish to be either; but it has been more than a week of not sleeping or sleeping for a bit with Gravol and then feeling horrible all day.

Thanks all.
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06-07-2011, 01:40 PM   #17
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I must say i have anxiety also, but never took anything for it like depression. It just seems like everybody who has IBD has something else too.
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06-07-2011, 02:21 PM   #18
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I would have panic attacks if I couldnt make it to Tue bathroom in time. I would sweat, shake, get freaked out, and more. My dr put me on some to relax my nerves and calm my stomach. I got off because I had no emotions. Now my Dr wants to put ke on amitypline (sp?) But I heard thats strong stuff. i have an appt next week with my primary to discuss it more.
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06-07-2011, 02:25 PM   #19
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Crohns does cause me some anxiety, mainly about crapping myself in public. I have social anxiety as part of Aspergers Syndrome, and a general anxiety as part of schizophrenia, for which I take olanzapine.
06-08-2011, 10:58 AM   #20
SarahAnne
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Definitely had depression and anxiety, even before the Crohn's dx. Mom has several immunological diseases and chronic depression/anxiety. Little sis has severe anxiety/panic attacks. I'm sure it runs in the family, but I am also sure that the Crohn's makes it worse. The pain, diarrhea, vomiting, physical changes to the body, plus all of the nasty side effects of all the nasty meds we are on wreak havoc on our mental/emotional states. I envy the people who can manage without the meds. I personally can't, sometimes I start crying and can't stop. It gets scary for the hubby and kids. The meds keep me on an even keel, even when the CD gets bad.
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06-11-2011, 03:04 PM   #21
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I've been suffering of anxiety/depression ever since I was diagnosed over 8 years ago. The longest period I been on medication to treat the anxiety/depression is 12 months. Recovered quite well I can say but from my experience I and reading around different cases the best is to avoid medication if not absolutely necessary. Been on and off medication throughout the whole period.

At the moment I am taking no more than 0.75 mg of xanax daily to cope with the stress (going through a flare up). It definitely helps me but it is just a fix for the moment I am pretty sure, have to say being on and off the drugs and considering I have monitored the moments when I really need the anxiety pills is when I'm going through flare ups.

These drugs will never treat the cause of anxiety that for sure. Pretty logical here, a drug meant to treat the nervous system cannot treat our crohn's, reason for which I recommend staying off the drugs if not going through really tough times.

I noticed that most of my flare ups are stress related, it is a vicious cycle I am going through. Family issues -> Work problems -> Stress -> Flare ups. Rarely I have noticed that bad eating habits triggered a bad flare up. So best to avoid stress and do anything to regain the remission in order to feel more relaxed and avoid the drugs.

Why avoid the drugs? Because they are very addictive and from my point of view very dangerous for Crohn's if taken for long periods of time.

One other important thing I've noticed is that when taking anxiety/depression drugs in combination with caffeine/nicotine or other such stimulant substances of the nervous system, it can never be worse. This combination is absolutely devastating, I speak from personal experience, everyone is different and I got to mention I have never taken large doses of these drugs (situation in which you might not even feel the symptoms caused by the situation I explained above) - because you are highly sedated. So in other words you might end up killing your body with high doses of drugs by hiding the symptoms.

Anxiety/depression is best taken care of from the inside - gain control of the disease and slowly try to overcome it. Only take pills if absolutely necessary.

I have repeated a few points throughout my post just to make my point clear, I am pretty tired and my English is not one of the best..

Hope this helps.
06-11-2011, 04:37 PM   #22
Katiepede
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Mine started when I was involved in a car accident where somebody died. And it got much worse when I started with my crohny symptoms.

However, I with Cognitive behaviour Therapy and better meds my anxiety started getting much better, and although I still get nervous in some more crazy situations (i.e. my scary London trip next weekend) I would say that I can do so much more than I would have thought possible those years ago when I was stuck in my house. xxx
06-11-2011, 08:42 PM   #23
TwinkleToes
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I've had anxiety before I was diagnosed with Crohn's. Since I was diagnosed and started having more problems with random BM's, I get anxious in cars when other people are driving. Also, I try to keep it under control, but it's tough because I feel that it gets out of control sometimes. Plus, when I get a panic attack, I immediately need to go to the bathroom. I try to control it naturally, with breathing and yoga, and that helps. Also, eating right helps as well. But, I really don't want to go on meds unless I absolutely need to.
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06-11-2011, 10:26 PM   #24
AndiGirl
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I think for me, it's very hard to tell which came first. I started have digestive problems around the age of 17/18. That's about the same time that I started developing panic attacks. I thought I was losing my mind for a while. The symptoms and fear were terrible. The CD runs in my father's side of the family, and strangely enough so do anxiety disorders. I think there is a link in the seratonin. Chronic pain lowers it, thus causing depression and/or anxiety.
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06-12-2011, 03:36 PM   #25
denisk
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I was anxious before also but never knew it was from chrons. Learn something every day I guess and BTW I am no longer anxious I just have Chrons LOL
06-13-2011, 08:47 AM   #26
SarahAnne
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I think for me, it's very hard to tell which came first. I started have digestive problems around the age of 17/18. That's about the same time that I started developing panic attacks. I thought I was losing my mind for a while. The symptoms and fear were terrible. The CD runs in my father's side of the family, and strangely enough so do anxiety disorders. I think there is a link in the seratonin. Chronic pain lowers it, thus causing depression and/or anxiety.
I agree 100%. My problems started in middle school with the pain, cramping and diarrhea. That was also when my mom got sick, and I was bullied by two older girls. I was so stressed and anxious all of the time. They came together though, I don't think one caused the other.
06-13-2011, 10:14 AM   #27
LOSTnut
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I never had any problems before my surgery. After the emergency surgery, while still under a lot of painkillers, I was told I talked about killing myself, which is when I was put on anti-depressants to help me deal.

After that there was a lot of stress with regards to the bag, then losing my job, now the threat of losing my health insurance and not being able to find a job that offers health insurance.

In short, I think my depression come strictly from Crohn's and its related issues ... or age???

Anyhow, at this point I could not imagine being without the little pills to even my emotions out.
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08-25-2011, 05:09 AM   #28
Paul Cronk
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Before I had Crohn's - even undiagnosed - I was a high anxiety guy but could pretty much internalise and cope with it. Since the Crohn's I have higher anxiety and tearful periods which I believe are a result of: 1. my natural anxiety levels 2. fatigue from Crohn's 3. lack of internal "balance" caused by the Crohn's 4. pain (Crohn's and related spinal problems).

So I am learning to let out my emotions more and am willing to consider SSRIs if they will make my life more relaxed. However, I am waiting to see what the Winter brings before making that choice.

All I do know is that when I am full stretch at some sort of exercise (cycling or the gym, say) nothing hurts or worries me because those natural painkillers kick in.
08-31-2011, 07:34 AM   #29
Jessica
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I know that mine came before diagnosis. However, I also have Grave's (hyperthyroidism)... which increases anxiety. Sorry if I'm not much help. But definitely before Crohn's.
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08-31-2011, 11:03 AM   #30
outlier
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there are several reason why they might appear to go together as i see it.

a) malnutrition doesn't just effect the body but your brain is very dependent on calorie intake and vitamins. If that is effected then your brain may be effected in various ways.

b) most people associate stomach problems with anxiety, we are taught that when we are nervous or upset it is apporate that our stomach will have problems, therefor when you do have stomach issue, you, your family and even doctors often will first look to see if it's not "in your head". however a good metal health professional should look for physical issues first see point A, but they don't.
-sub b) both fibromylaga and IBS which many people here are first dx with are treated with antidepressants because they are nerve related and antidepressants have postive effects on them

c) many people have secondary metal illness when they are dx with a chronic illness, this means that that chronic illness can be a stress-er that allows symptoms to appear.
-sub c) stess weakens your body and can be associated with crohn's flare as well as bring on metal illness.

d) We might be a self selected group. people with anxiety in life maybe more likely to look for answers therefor they might find this forum and be more anxious about symptoms. Also according to the ad councils current billboards 1in 4 people have a mental health issue, a place where people list medications, it might seem like more then average but is just more obvious here.

I fall in to category A. I actually blamed my first flare on metal health meds, but it was really i was so malnutritioned and fatigued that was blaming it on depression. when really depression was being caused my Crohn's when i got that under control the depression got remarkable better.

Sorry so long.
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