What comes first, the chicken or the egg?
Studies show both. Stress perception is important in IBD patients and its the perception that induces flare ups, or, IBD causes to stress and depression that leads to flareups and worsening of the condition.
Dr. Charles Bernstein, a well-known Canadian researcher, tells us that in a study
comparing people who experienced a colitis flare-up to those who did not, there were no differences between the groups in areas such as the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics or the presence of infections. What was different however was the perception of stress experienced by the study subjects. So, it was not the presence or absence of stress that was found to be significant; it was the degree to which an individual perceived their stress that was important; in other words, it’s stress perception important in IBD patients, not necessarily whether they were really more stressed or not.
While other research has proven that stress does not cause IBD, now we know that stress perception and a flare-up of IBD symptoms are intertwined. We are slowly beginning to understand that IBD affects people psychologically even when their condition of IBD is not active. And we also know that people with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease have a higher risk of developing depression and other psychological problems than people in general.
What comes first? Is it that IBD leads to depression and creates stress on Crohns and Colitis sufferers or, is stress perception so important in IBD patients, as well as a feeling of depression, that it makes the symptoms of IBD worse and possibly even result in a flare-up? At this point, we don’t really know – what we do know is that there is a body/mind connection in all expressions of disease and both are important contributors to a person’s health.
We highly recommend our comprehensive, yet easy to follow, 8 week stress management program that is offered on line – delivered conveniently in your inbox on a daily basis for 8 weeks. Its very simple and the techniques that we advocate influence both mind and body.