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June 12, 2009 at 8:01 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Anxiety Disorders and IBS

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Feelings of anxiety can make life seem difficult. Add in symptoms of IBS and it can be almost unbearable. A common marriage is that between anxiety disorders and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to researchers, somewhere between 50-90% of people with irritable bowel syndrome have at least one psychiatric condition, including general anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, depression, and panic disorder.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS is a very common disorder of the colon. Symptoms include abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. Data has shown a direct link between the brain and the digestion tract. A very high number of people with IBS also experience anxiety disorders.

What is anxiety disorder?

An anxiety disorder can be characterized as a normal reaction to stress. When an anxiety becomes excessive, and makes someone overly fearful and uncertain, it can be a disabling disorder that hinders people's lifestyle. Anxiety disorders are commonly associated with other illnesses, both mental and physical.

What are symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety can be shown in the form of trembling, dizziness, aching muscles, upset stomach, insomnia, and irritability. People tend to worry over problems such as money, health, and careers.

What is the connection between IBS and Anxiety disorders?

It is speculated that people with IBS are more sensitive to emotion problems. It is also noted that dealing with anxiety and stress can make the mind more aware of spasms in the colon. IBS may be triggered by the immune system. The immune system is highly susceptible to stress and anxiety.

What can I do if I have anxiety disorders and IBS?

Some treatments for IBS can also help you with your anxiety disorder. Cutting out caffeine and alcohol can help with both IBS and anxiety disorder. Stress relief should play a major part in most people's anxiety relief programs. Stress relief can come in the form of several ways:

  • Yoga or exercise
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Caution with medications
  • Meditation
  • Hypnosis
  • Counseling

How do I cope with stress and anxiety?

People are learning to deal with stress and anxiety in many different ways. Managing stress is one of the best ways to prevent symptoms of IBS. Relaxation techniques are very popular. Some include deep breathing and visualization. Exercise, especially calming ones like yoga or meditation are popular. Enjoying activities such as being with friends and family, reading, listening to music has also been proven as a good stress relief. Behavioral therapy such as hypnosis, biofeedback, and traditional psychotherapy also can help. Self help groups can offer support and understanding.

How can I prevent IBS?

Since there is no known cause of IBS, slight changes in lifestyle are a good start. Minimizing stress can have a huge impact on your quality of life when dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Some other options to consider would be to do regular exercise, yoga, or meditation. Some people try hypnosis. Others believe in the healing power of relaxation exercises. Whatever works for you and minimized stress, try it for 20 relaxing minutes a day.

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