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Depression Common with Crohn's/UC?

I'm wondering if there is any scientific basis for a connection between IBD and depression. I lost all desires, feelings, and sex drive around April 28th. I started crying a lot for no reason and sleeping more. I stopped caring about everyone and everything. Then it wasn't until May 19th that I started having painful, bloody diarrhea. Then yesterday (June 19th), I was told I have either Crohn's or UC.

I'm curious if anyone knows anything about depression that is somehow biologically linked to IBD without having any seemingly psychological link. I seem to cry uncontrollably whenever I hear/read mention of compassion, empathy, or close interpersonal relationships. I can't sense a psychological link between my depression and my IBD.

And how common is depression in those with IBD?


Depression is quite common among those with IBD because this disease is complicated and takes a toll on our everyday activities such as sleeping, eating and our social, romantic and work lives.

There is no evidence that there is a physiological link between depression and Crohn's but certainly any chronic illness can cause depression.
I have read a lot about this as I suffer from slight depression myself. Most of what I have read links Crohn's with depression because of the feelings of helplessness. Sounds like your apathy started before your diagnosis. That would make since because to get a diagnosis you have to seek treatment. You seek treatment when you are sick. People who treat there depression are more likely to have a better outcome with there health problems. They can directly relate stress to your physical health. Weather they link stress and Crohn's directly (my understanding is that they have not) or not stress plays a major role in other body functions and mood. Treatment for depression ranges from physical excurse, therapy, and medications or a combination of them all.

If you have not read yet on what you can do to boost yourself up and a lot of times out of depression you should! I actually bought the "Depression for Dummies" book and it was a good help. I think knowledge is power.

Good luck in your journey :)
Yeah, SarahBear, I have requested to see the psychiatrist here at the hospital. If the main one isn't here today (since it's Saturday), then I should still be able to talk to another one.

Hm, Depression for Dummies. I have heard that those X for Dummies books are good resources. So far I've just been coming up with my own theories as to how this may have started and trying to create my own solutions. One solution that's probably in that book is exercise. I've been meaning to do that, but I don't exactly have the capacity for much physical exertion right now. :p
Hi Sauter!
I am so happy to hear you are going to talk to someone today! That's good news.

Oh physical exercise...how I loth you! ;0 lol
I have felt much better since I've been on an antidepressant called Effexor and to be honest I did not think I was depressed. My internal medicine doctor said low serotonin (the feel good chemical in your brain, lol) goes part and parcel with any chronic illness.
I saw a psychiatrist on Sunday briefly. He told me that he'd recommend I take Remeron. I told him I'd think about it. I'm very hesitant to take an antidepressant.

However, I've just been feeling pretty good lately. I don't know if it's the steroids or maybe just the amount of alone time that I've had to myself (one of my theories is that I need a lot more alone time than I realized). I don't think I've cried in a couple days, though I can't say I haven't been on the verge of a little cry. It seems to me that there is still a depression holding onto me, but something is making it okay. Writing that sentence really makes me think it's the steroids. Whatever, I'm feeling pretty good. My stools are becoming browner and at least begin with solids of some sort. It's been a good last couple of days. My two best friends saw me for a few hours Sunday night, so that was fun.

Maybe it's just because I've been keeping myself busy. I've been doing a lot of research on Crohn's/UC, especially the Paleo diet. I've been looking up lots of seafood recipes. I've been writing down the reasoning behind the diet to explain to my parents and planning how I'm going to go about reintroducing foods into my diet once the diarrhea is gone. I've been drawing every day. I've been writing and moving around. I think just doing stuff could be what helps the most, and my energy for that is probably rooted in the steroids.

Also I started Asacol Monday night.
Most of us have been where you are right now, and one thing I've learned is it doesn't hurt to ease your way through some of the rough patches. The antidepressants have chemicals that people who suffer from Chronic diseases are depleted, such a serotonin, which is what we need to have a sense of well being and happiness. I fought taking them for years but finally did and I was amazed at how much more "normal" I felt. I can't say what's right for you, but I thought I'd share my experience. I know it's a tough choice. *hugs*
There is a scientific link between depression and Crohn's (in fact most immune system diseases.)
My psychiatrist at the hospital explained it to me, although I forget exactly how it happens. I have found some research online about it.

'Depressed people have higher levels of inflammatory markers; but, amazingly, people with elevated signs of inflammation also display many symptoms of (if not full-blown) depression. *And* you can induce depression in mice, by injecting them with inflammatory molecules.'


It would not surprise me if it was very common.

I have depression to begin with, and then Crohns happened too. Crohns just adds to any depression which you may have simply by demoralising anyone who has it. It can also cause anemia with a lot of people, which I have too. That alone can have a big effect on your mental health.

I also think with mental health problems, it brings a lot of stress, which aggravates many health conditions. IBS included. So even if it isn't linked medically, they can make each other worse just by their nature.
I am convinced that inflammatory/immune disorders lead to depression due to the neurotransmitter imbalances mentioned above. For those of us with digestive disorders, it has to be even more understandable that our neutrotransmitters would be off because we aren't absorbing nutrients properly!

Yes, we have been diagnosed with a chronic disease; yes we may feel isolated; yes, treatment options are not that great . . . but I believe there's a biological reason that our emotions are out of whack.

Anyone with a "gut problem" has a much higher chance of all sorts of psychological disorders. I am a speech-language pathologist, who works with children with Autism; there are studies going on all the time about on the link between their emotional dysregulation (leading to challenging behaviors) and their frequent digestion problems.

There's a great overview of some recent gut-brain research at the American Psychological Association's website (look up "That Gut Feeling" and the article should come up - I can't post a link yet because I am too new to this forum).

I am not getting treatment for my mood yet - I'd like to get the Crohn's inflammation under control first, assuming that's the actual underlying reason for the mood swings. A deep emotional pit is always associated for me with extreme fatigue and digestive symptoms (for me: pain, nausea, horrible stinky gas, etc.)

Keep us informed how you are doing.

Not much to add, but I've had depression/dysthymia for years, at least back into my teens, if not into my childhood. My Crohn's didn't really manifest itself until adulthood, although I may have had a mild flare when I was about 6, that a bad GI diagnosed me as being a wimpy boy (his prescription was to play sports). The Crohn's has added a new dynamic to my depression, though.
I think its common because of 2 reasons!

#1 most of your serotonin receptors are your in your gut (way more than brain)- inflammation gets them out of wack

#2 missing micro-nutrients, IBD causes you to be low on all kinds of little tiny things.

My tip start on a very low dose of AD and work your way up to therapeutic level