Adolescent and young adult patients with inflammatory bowel disease have a higher risk for experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to research published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.
Gretchen van den Brink, MD, of Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues wrote that the high prevalence of anxiety and depression during this important time in maturation underlines the need for more psychological screening for these patients.
“A chronic disease, at this age, is a threat to a healthy psychological development,” they wrote. “It has been observed that particularly adolescents with IBD are at risk for psychological problems such as anxiety and depression, and thereby decreased quality of life.”
Researchers sought to determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression, and identify potential risk factors of the conditions among young adults and adolescents in a prospective study of 374 patients with IBD aged between 10 years and 25 years.
They screened the patients for anxiety and depression using validated quality of life questionnaires and conducted a diagnostic interview with any patient who had elevated scores for anxiety or depression. While most patients had a disease in remission (75.4%), rates for mild disease activity were 19.8%, 2.7% for moderate activity and 2.1% for severe disease activity.
Investigators determined that 35.2% of the patients had mild symptoms of anxiety or depression and 12.4% had severe symptoms. Patients with active disease were at higher risk for developing symptoms of depression (OR = 4.6; 95% CI, 2.4–8.8).
Van den Brink and colleagues also found that female sex (OR = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1–2.7), active disease (OR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1–3.2) and a shorter disease duration (OR = 1.3; 95% CI, 0.6–1) all predicted symptoms of anxiety or depression (P < .025).
The investigators wrote that these findings highlight a need for more emphasis on psychological screening and support for young adults and adolescents with IBD.
“These psychological problems can have a significant impact on the burden of disease and can lead to increased health care costs,” they wrote. “Screening facilitates early recognition and early psychological treatment, in order to improve psychological well-being and clinical course of disease.” – by Alex Young
Disclosures: van den Brink reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.