ABSTRACT: Background: The co-occurrence of emotional disorders (alexithymia, depression and anxiety) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is reported in the literature. There are several possible explanations for this co morbidity. Aim : To evaluate the prevalence of alexithymia, anxiety and depression among patients with IBD and to compare them with a control group of healthy individuals and to discuss the relation between emotional disorders and IBD. Methods: We built a case - control study of 50 patients with IBD (ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD)). The control group compounded 50 subjects without IBD and paired according sex, age, and school level. Alexithymia was assessed with the 20-item version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS -20). Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), which is a 14-item self-report scale providing separate subscale scores for anxiety (HADS-A) and depression (HADS-D). Results: Among the group of patients, the rates of anxiety, depression and alexithymia were, respectively, 52%, 44% and 54%. In this group, there were significantly more anxious, depressed, and alexithymic subjects than in the control group (p respectively, 0,007, 0,015 and 0,002). The anxiety and the depression were more frequent among patients who had active disease or symptoms than those in remission (p respectively, 0,011 and 0,035). Conclusion: The comorbidity of emotional disorders and IBD seems to be frequent. Therefore, clinicians should look for those disorders in patients with IBD, by using specific scales. The adjunction of emotional disorder treatment, if needed, would allow optimizing the management of MICI.
La Tunisie médicale 07/2012; 90(7):557-63.