GI disorder patients often diagnosed with psychological issues first — 4 study insights

A study, published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, examined psychological disorders in relation to gastrointestinal disorders.

Michael P. Jones, PhD, of Australia-based Macquarie University, and colleagues analyzed two independent studies to determine how many patients had functional gastrointestinal disorders and mood or anxiety disorders.

Researchers analyzed 4,966 patients with gut disorders and mood disorders at U.K.-based practices over 13.1 years. They recorded which disorder was first diagnosed and compared it against gender and socioeconomic factors. Researchers also analyzed data from 1,002 Australian non-healthcare seekers to determine if they were ever diagnosed with a GI or mood disorder.

Here's what they found:

1. Of the 4,966 patients, 3,276 had a diagnosed mood disorder before a diagnosed GI disorder.

2. The ratio increased when considering socioeconomic factors.

3. Researchers found the time between diagnosing a mood disorder and then a GI disorder was longer than the time between diagnosing a GI disorder and then a mood disorder — a median of 3.5 years versus 1.8 years.

4. Of the 1,002 non-healthcare seekers, an equal amount of patients had a mood or anxiety disorder diagnosed before a GI disorder, as compared to the other way around.

Researchers concluded more patients received a mood disorder diagnosis before a GI disorder than vice versa.

They said, "Our findings support a role for adverse socioeconomic factors in development of [GI disorders] in patients with psychological disorders."

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