Jessica Buzenski

Dr. Buzenski is a clinically focused...

It's natural to worry or have low mood when you, or a loved one, become sick. But diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can turn "normal" concerns into something bigger. Research tells us that people who experience chronic illness, like IBD or Crohn's have a much higher risk than others for developing depression, anxiety, or both. Even caretakers of those with a chronic illness are more at risk to develop symptoms of these disorders than other people.

Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Often times, physical symptoms of anxiety and depression can overlap with common symptoms of chronic illnesses. These may include: 

  • fatigue
  • difficulty sleeping 
  • muscle aches or pain 
  • changes in appetite or weight

Plus, some worry and changes in mood are common when adjusting to a new diagnosis, surgery, a new medicine, or a different way of life. So how can we tell the difference?

Identifying Anxiety or Depression

It may help to ask yourself:

  • If I were disease free, would I still have these other symptoms?
  • Do I always anticipate receiving bad news at each doctor's appointment?
  • Do I feel like there is no hope for adjusting to my disease or having better management?
  • Do I avoid treatment because I am worried?
  • Am I always irritable, especially when it comes to my health

If you answered yes to any of these, or feel that you or your loved ones could use extra support with managing a chronic illness, ask your doctor about seeing a psychologist. It could be just what you need to address concerns for anxiety or depression and improve your overall coping.

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