UNADDRESSED anxiety in patients who also suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) could be impact disease course and patient outcomes. New statements from Laurie Keefer, Director of Psychobehavioral Research, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York City, New York, USA, have underlined the importance of gastroenterologists understanding and recognising the signs of pathological anxiety in patients.
“Anxiety occurs on a spectrum,” explained Keefer. “There are anxiety symptoms [such as] panic, worry, nervousness, that we see with our patients. Then there are anxiety disorders in which these symptoms are persistent, with patients unable to control those feelings of unease, worry, or fear.”
It is important for gastroenterologists to be aware of patients reporting hot flashes and chills, tingling or numbness, autonomic arousal, palpitations, and trembling or shaking. Keefer highlighted several key tools essential for identifying and measuring anxiety, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) assessment.
“You are going to see it clinically in your practice, presenting as symptoms that will potentially affect your treatment decision-making,” stated Keefer. Underlining the importance of addressing anxiety within the contact of IBD patient care Keefer further underlined that undiagnosed or unaddressed anxiety could result in tangible impacts on disease outcome.