Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Depression
Turning to Talk Therapy for Depression
Traditional psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy may also help with depression. Traditional psychotherapy involves talking with a therapist to work out conflicts and understand your feelings. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you how to recognize negative and distorted thoughts, and replace them with positive, more realistic thoughts.
The American College of Gastroenterology has found that, in a majority of patients, behavioral therapy reduced some IBS symptoms. Patients who felt physically better also had fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Other Treatment Options for Depression With IBS
Along with drug therapy and psychotherapy, there are many other steps you can take to help ease depression if you have IBS. Some people find that stress management techniques help them cope with life better. Regular exercise helps some people recover from depression. So does a good diet for IBS, getting enough sleep, and taking time to do something enjoyable each day.
You may also want to attend a self-help support group for people with IBS or depression. "You are not alone," says Jeffrey Roberts, president and founder of the IBS Self Help and Support Group, which has online and face-to-face meetings. "There are other people who suffer like you do."
For referrals to support groups around the world, contact the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders or tap into the IBS Self Help and Support Group. You can also go to WebMD's Digestive Disorders Support Group, which is available 24 hours a day.
People who have IBS and depression have many choices. Talk with your doctor about the right course of action for you. Ask if a referral to a mental health professional is appropriate.