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Overly Anxious & Driven People Prone To Irritable Bowel Syndrome — an article on the Smart Living Network
June 3, 2009 at 11:43 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Overly Anxious & Driven People Prone To Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Studies have shown some personality characteristics seem to affect the prevalence, frequency and severity of IBS symptoms. Stress and anxiety management have been shown to ease and even prevent IBS flares.

IBS and Stress

There is certainly a link between IBS and stress. Since stress weakens the immune system, it seems likely that most people would want to reduce stress in general. However, for some personality types, stress is more than just a periodic occurrence. People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and those prone to chronic stress seem to suffer more from their IBS and have more difficulty seeking treatment.

Overly Anxious People and IBS

It is estimated that 60% of people with IBS have some sort of anxiety disorder, and no wonder. IBS is a condition that causes a number of painful symptoms which can interfere in a person's life with little warning. People with IBS often experience feelings of helplessness and a lack of control due to the seemingly random bouts of IBS they experience. However, such a strong link between IBS and anxiety tells us how strongly the two are linked, and the only way to help the person is to treat both conditions. Many people with generalized anxiety disorder find relief through anti-anxiety medications and therapy. Knowing they can take positive steps to limit the effects of their IBS gives people feelings of control they were lacking. Treating anxiety will go a long way to improving the quality of life of these people.

Driven People and IBS

Particularly driven people seem to be those people who reject any representations of weakness or low self-esteem. And, since they usually consider illness a sign of weakness, they are much more likely to ignore serious health problems until they become out of control. These people may not listen to their bodies until their body literally gives out on them. Chronic stress weakens the immune system, making this type of person even more susceptible to illness. And avoiding illness only works to make the body more susceptible to further illness.

Reducing Anxiety and Stress to Ease IBS

Most people can take steps to manage their IBS through relaxation and stress reduction techniques. Apart from dietary changes, stress reduction and relaxation seem to be the most helpful types of therapy for those with IBS. There are many support groups for IBS, and some people may want to see a therapist or psychologist for a one on one session. Some people find relief through relaxation therapy, biofeedback, meditation, hypnosis and behavioral therapy as well. While therapy will not cure your IBS, it may reduce the frequency of symptoms and certainly will help a person learn to cope with IBS. If you have IBS, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from the same condition. Work to create a support network around you for when you need it. Tell someone at work that you trust that will understand what you're going through. Join a support group or online chat room where you can talk with others. Tell your friend, family and definitely your doctor, who can work with you to ease symptoms as much as possible.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/ibs/guide/stress-anxiety-ibs

http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/news-152818-66.html

http://www.webmd.com/ibs/guide/ibs-triggers-prevention-strategies

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