Talking with your General Surgeon about Depression during Crohn’s

There is more to Crohn’s disease than meets the eye. The autoimmune disease that plagues the intestinal tract can do a lot more damage psychologically than many people give it credit for. On top of the severe stomach pains, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, dehydration risk and other physical symptoms of Crohn’s disease, the condition leaves many patients riddled with stress, anxiety and panic about what to do when their symptoms strike.

If you are struggling with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, another form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), then your general surgeon in Ft. Myers can help you overcome the physical symptoms of the disease. Bowel surgery for Crohn’s disease can remove the damaged portion of the intestine and promote health bowel functioning, reducing the onset of diarrhea and other uncomfortable symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease. However, no surgery can repair the stress and anxiety that develops after years of hiding near the bathroom in fear of your Crohn’s and colitis symptoms.

A recent study by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Crohn’s and Colitis Center found that rates of depression and severe anxiety among those with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis that have undergone surgery are similar to those who have not yet been treated for the disease. This means that while getting surgical treatment for Crohn’s disease can reduce your physical symptoms, it will not address your mental health. This is something that you will need to pay close attention to and seek additional help for as you pursue treatment for Crohn’s disease.

If you are struggling with severe anxiety or depression while seeking treatment for Crohn’s disease, then consider the following tips:

  • Journal daily. Writing down your thoughts, worries and frustrations can really help you cope with your emotions, and is even shown to help reduce your risk of depression.
  • Take deep breaths. When faced with a stressful situation, try mentally removing yourself for a moment by taking a long, deep breath. Breathe in and out slowly for at least a minute before making a decision.
  • Seek support. Whether it is from a professional mental health counselor, a good friend or a parent, the support of someone you trust can be a huge benefit in overcoming anxiety and depression.

Addressing health concerns with your friends and family members can help them better understand what you are going through emotionally, and will provide you with an opportunity to explain how they can help you through this time of need.