• Welcome to Crohn's Forum, a support group for people with all forms of IBD. While this community is not a substitute for doctor's advice and we cannot treat or diagnose, we find being able to communicate with others who have IBD is invaluable as we navigate our struggles and celebrate our successes. We invite you to join us.

Depression or Not?

I'm wondering if anyone has had emotional problems, such as lack or ambition or desire to pursue daily life or set goals? I started a small business in 2008 and was doing well at it financially. That year, after years of remission my Crohn's became active again with vengeance. I have had two resections and a abscess removed and a few other minor surgeries dealing with Crohn's disease. Now I have my Crohn's under control and I'm having difficulties getting motivated about getting my life back rolling, with the business and personal life. I do consider myself happy, so I was wondering if maybe Im suffering from some kind of depression or have I just become lazy from being laid up from dealing with Crohn's. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated, so fire away!



Your Story Forum Monitor
I'm sort of going through that now. I'm just getting over a flare-up. To make a long story short, I have a difficult mother-in-law on the way, an unruly group of students, and some minor annoyances on the side. My two babies are 2 years and 1 year-old. I would much rather stay home with them. It's been a difficult year for me. I have fought trying to stay motivated this year. Have you considered antidepressants? I don't like to push pills, but they have done wonders for me. I used to suffer with anxiety attacks. I later learned that depression is the underlying cause, and that when you have a chronic illness, the level of seratonin that your body makes is often interrupted. The gut produces much of the seratonin. I saw the connection between my Crohn's worsening and feeling more down and anxious. Hang in there friend. :)
Thanks for the quick reply AndiGirl!
I have not talked to anyone professionally about it yet, and Im not quite sure who I should talk to. I have used my gastro doctor as my primary doctor the last 3 years b/c I have had so much trouble and I demand a doctor to knows me quite well. We have focused mainly on Crohn's and Im wondering if I should talk to him or a Family doctor or go see an actual counselor? What are you taking for depression, if you dont mind me asking?


Your Story Forum Monitor
I don't mind at all. I take 150 mg of Zoloft. It has made a big difference in how I feel.
depression is common for sure with crohn's//it sucks having crohn's..only so much the mind can take. My Dr. put me on paxil , that seemed to help..I no longer tkae it. But I noticed, after about 4 days of taking it, I had more desire to 'do things'. ge out of the house etc. more motivation. Also it seems to increase your appaettite too. so I put on a few pounds, which i could use anyways.
I'm definitely going to talk to my doctor about an antidepressent. stevereds, I like that it helps with your appetite because it takes an act of congress for me to put on weight. I work out and it doesnt help me with weight gain or depression.
I have never been competitive, or very ambitious, although I come from a goal oriented family. I worked hard at collage, but really only perused things I liked since I never expected to actually be able to graduate since I was in and out with my Crohns. I got it a bit more together once I realized that I might actually be able to graduate (which I did), but I am still way too prone to procrastination (I am supposed to be working right now) to ever really get that much done.

What I realized about myself is that work just isn’t as important to me as the rest of my life (relationships, writing in my spare time, reading, watching shows I like), and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is just me. I work hard while I am at work (most of the time), and I care about doing well so that no one has to pick up my slack, but I have no interest in advancing my position, or getting to a higher level than I am at right now. When I am at home, I try not to think about work at all.

Honestly I think that this approach to life is healthy for a person with Crohns. I try very hard not to stress myself out about things that are out of my control, like being too sick to work from time to time, or worrying about what others think of me. That is a waste of time. I just try to do the best I can, and then I let it go. My home life is my real life. My job is just what I do so that I can make the rest of my life work.

Obviously, this way of thinking doesn’t work for everyone. My sister is very job/goal oriented, and that way of living doesn’t stress her out at all. It seems to even make her happy. We all have different styles and approaches to life. I just happen to think that if you are paying your bills, and you feel pretty content where you are, there is no reason to try to be like someone else. I am a good friend, a good wife, a good dog owner and a good sister. Those are the things that matter to me, and I am okay with those being the things that make me feel fulfilled as a person.

I will say that when I was on pain meds last year, I really didn’t feel like I cared about anything, which is something different. I didn’t feel bad, I just didn’t feel anything that strongly. I felt mellow, not happy, but I was afraid of going off of them even when I was out of pain, because I felt like they regulated my mood. Really, all the days of my life started to blend together, and even when I was doing something “fun” it just felt like another thing to get through before I went to bed and started it all again the next day.

I finally did go off of them completely, and a few months later, I was taking a long walk in Santa Fe by myself (something I like to do when I am up to it). I was walking along the plaza, when suddenly I realized that there was a chill in the air. It wasn’t exactly a nice feeling, but I felt like I was really feeling it, if that makes sense. I felt the weight of my body as I walked. I felt the slight annoyance that I wasn’t quite sure how long it would be until my husband picked me up. I wanted some chocolate, and I got some and it was delicious. I realized that I was enjoying my own company again. It sounds really weird, and is hard to explain, but once I got the meds out of my system, I really felt like life mattered again. It was an important day. Are you on pain meds now? It might not feel like it, but they may be affecting you in ways you aren’t aware of.

Sorry I wrote you a novel! Hope this helps you in some way! Better get back to work. :)


Staff member
I'd go with a psychologist (therapist) first before seeing a psychiatrist (someone who prescribes medication) because sometimes a little counseling goes a long way and medication may not be needed. A lot of people turn to meds first but what they don't realize is that finding the right medication for you and at the right dosage takes many months even up to a couple years.

I was seeing both for a while but now I find that just going to therapy once a week or every other week is more beneficial for me. The trial and error of antidepressants actually made me more depressed because nothing seemed to be working or it would have a side effect I didn't want (a common one being the inability to have an orgasm). There's a difference between depression that's caused by an event and depression that's caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. For me, it was the situation that was causing it and that's why medication never seemed to cut it. It frustrated me more because sad things would happen while I was taking them and I couldn't even cry no matter how sad it was. It was really weird.

tldr version, seek therapy before medication.
best wishes

Crohns is a very emotionally challenging disease. Therapy can be very helpful, however coming from the underbelly of depression it can seem very overwhelming to start the process. Considering that you are already comfortable with your GI, you could start there. I agree with Andygirl it can take a while to find the right formula for your body. However, the right meds can make a world of difference.
That you have the where with all to consider options and seek help is a good sign. I hope that you areable to get the help that you need quickly.
Really, all the days of my life started to blend together, and even when I was doing something “fun” it just felt like another thing to get through before I went to bed and started it all again the next day.
OMG That is how I feel for the past year!!! I am kind of stuck in this never ending never stopping reality that I am afraid my whole life will be like that...I am taking pain meds few times per week, also lexapro 10MG and sometimes zanax .25
I understand what you are going through. I was in remission for a very long time. Then last month after my colonoscopy and CT scan, I was told that it was back and put on meds. I knew something was wrong and tried to ignore it(something that I do all the time). The depression that followed and is still with me is awful. I think it is worse then when I first diagnosed. There are days that I don't want to get out of bed. I only work 2 days a week and I dont even want to do that. I feel awful for my husband & daughter, but they are trying to understand. I think depression comes with any chronic illness, and I think that part of any treatment should be some kind of mental health therapy.
Not sure if I helped you, instead I just went on about me.
By sheer luck, I had the opportunity to test out Rhodiola rosea and its effects on depression and anxiety. This plant has been used in Siberia for its effect of relieving depression that is often suffered by people in this harsh climate.

I have had depression in the past, but it was a direct result of inflammation. I resolved that problem a few years ago by reducing chronic inflammation from Crohn's disease.

I was not able to test Rhodiola rosea myself, but my son and two of his friends were staying at my house, and all of them suffer from both depression and anxiety.

Two of them suffer from deep depression episodes, and the third one has it to a lesser degree. I gave my son the bottle and told him to try it out, as it is a far safer alternative to Prozac or other depression medications that he has tried. He also hated the side effects of these drugs, and they never were all that effective to begin with. He was one of those people that did make a half hearted suicide attempt as a result of using these drugs, as a teenager. Totalaly out of character for him.

All three ended up using the product, and they all agree that it helped immediately with depression and increased energy levels to a noticeable degree. They also agreed that it helped little for anxiety.

Given that all three had good results concerning depression and were able to tell it did not help with anxiety make me think they actually did notice the difference, and it is likely not a placebo effect.

It also worked very quickly, which surprised me. Often these type of treatments are subtle, and take time to work. This worked within hours of taking it.

I think if anyone suffers from depression, this product would be a worth a try. it certainly is a much safer treatment than most.

Hi Bayoucrohn's... I can relate to what you describe. A lot of people have reservations /stigmas towards anti-depressants, but I'd say hey... whatever helps.

I used to be very active and joyful, even though I was diagnosed decades ago. Since early last year, when a maze of fistulae started developing and their treatment has been delayed various times, I have gradually been taken over by inertia.

I do understand the importance of remaining pro-active and engaged, but often it all seems like too much. I'm reaching the point when I only do what is absolutely imperative or what is the result of external pressure. It breaks my heart because I used to be a leader, an entrepreneur, and nowadays I just don't care...

Seen a psychoanalist twice, he specializes in psycho-somatic illnesses, but haven't been able to return. My hope would be that I could re-shuffle my mental paradigms and thus instruct my body to be more gentle to itself...

In the end, I think I will need anti-depressants too. Will also try out acupuncture, aloe vera and zinc. And hopefully in the near future I'll be back with a vengeance.


I think the mental health challenges presented by IBD are the most overlooked side effect of our disease. Doctors need to be more aware of the deep impact IBD can have on their patients' mental health.

Dan, thanks for the info on Rhodiola rosea. Very interesting.

- Amy