Anxiety and depression in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: comparisons with chronic liver disease patients and the general population

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2011 Feb;17(2):621-32. doi: 10.1002/ibd.21346.


Background: Studies on anxiety and depression in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) yielded inconsistent results. We compared anxiety and depression of patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) controlled for sociodemographic and medical variables with age- and sex-matched controls.

Methods: In all, 422 IBD patients (50% females, 314 CD, 108 UC) of different settings were compared with 140 age- and sex-matched patients with chronic liver diseases (CLD) of a tertiary care center and with 422 age- and sex-matched persons of a representative sample of the general German population (GP). Anxiety and depression and probable mental disorder were assessed by the German version of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Comparisons between CD and UC were adjusted for medical (disease activity, number of IBD-associated diseases) and sociodemographic factors (age, gender, marital status).

Results: CD and UC patients did not differ in the levels of anxiety and depression or in the frequency of a probable mental disorder. The levels of anxiety and depression of IBD patients with active disease were higher than that of the GP, but not of the IBD patients in remission. The depression score of the CLD sample was higher than that of the IBD sample (P<0.001), but not the anxiety score. Mental disorders were more frequent in IBD patients with slight (27.7%) and moderate/severe disease activity (49.3%) compared to GP (10.4%) (P<0.001), but not in IBD patients in remission (11.3%).

Conclusions: Patients with active IBD should be screened for anxiety and depression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / psychology*
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Crohn Disease / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Liver Diseases / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult