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Gastrointestinal Disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Anxiety 

Gastrointestinal Disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Anxiety
Gastrointestinal Disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Anxiety

R. Bruce Lydiard

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date: 15 August 2020

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, potentially disabling functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. Over half of those seeking treatment for IBS have anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder (PD) and/or mood disorders. This chapter highlights literature regarding the overlap of anxiety and GI disorders in patient and community samples. A “brain–gut” model for IBS suggests that the same brain areas that modulate anxiety, depression, and stress also modulate GI function. The chapter discusses the recently recognized importance of the intestinal microbiome in brain-gut interactions, and it briefly examines the potential therapeutic implications. Understanding mechanisms connecting the mental experience of anxiety and the physical experience of gastrointestinal disorders remains an exciting and promising area of work potentially leading to new treatments across both disorders.

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