Post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in response to medical trauma are understudied in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Two studies identify surgery, hospitalizations, and disease severity as risk factors. We aimed to document IBD-related patient experiences and how these relate to PTSS via a qualitative study. Adult patients with confirmed IBD recruited from two gastroenterology clinics underwent a semi-structured interview with a psychologist and completed the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale for DSM5 (PSSI-5). Interviews were analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological approach. Themes and subthemes with representative quotations were documented based on thematic saturation. 16 participants, five met PSSI-5 criteria for PTSD. Five themes emerged: disease uncertainty, information exchange/quality, medical procedures, surgery, and coping. Patients with IBD may experience medical PTSS from several sources. Information, communication, and trust in clinicians is vital but may be sub-optimal. Both adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies are used to mitigate PTSS.
Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease; Medical trauma; Post-traumatic stress.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.