This article reviews the etiology, clinical characteristics, and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and associated psychological sequelae in children and adolescents with this lifelong disease. Pediatric-onset IBD, consisting of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, has significant medical morbidity and in many young persons is also associated with psychological and psychosocial challenges. Depression and anxiety are particularly prevalent and have a multifaceted etiology, including IBD-related factors such as cytokines and steroids used to treat IBD and psychosocial stress. A growing number of empirically supported interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, and educational resources, help youth and their parents cope with IBD as well as the psychological and psychosocial sequelae. While there is convincing evidence that such interventions can help improve anxiety, depression, and health-related quality of life, their effects on IBD severity and course await further study.
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