Functional gastrointestinal disorders: an update for the psychiatrist

Psychosomatics. Mar-Apr 2007;48(2):93-102. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.48.2.93.


Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) are common conditions, with well-established diagnostic criteria. They are associated with impaired health-related quality of life and increased societal and healthcare costs. Their symptoms are probably related to altered 5-HT transmission and central processing of noxious visceral stimuli. Evaluation and treatment are best formulated using a biopsychosocial model that integrates gut function with psychosocial assessment. Psychological therapies may improve overall well-being and appear to help patients without significant psychiatric comorbidity. Antidepressants help comorbid anxiety and depressive disorders and have primary efficacy in improving the symptoms of FGID. Finally, there is a need for greater involvement of psychiatrists in both the evaluation and treatment of patients with FGID as well as the education and training of practitioners caring for these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychotherapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Somatoform Disorders / drug therapy
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy


  • Antidepressive Agents