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  1. Mikocka-Walus, Antonina PhD, MA(Psych)
  2. Andrews, Jane M. PhD, MBBS, FRACP


This study aimed to explore and compare experiences with and attitudes toward psychotherapy and antidepressants of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGiDs). Patients from gastroenterology clinic databases were invited to an online survey. Student's t test, Mann-Whitney U test, chi-square test, and Fisher's test were used to compare patients with IBD and FGiD on demographics and variables of interest. Of 86 participants, 56 (65%) had IBD and 30 (35%) had FGiDs. Mean levels of anxiety, depressive, and stress symptoms were within the moderate to severe range. Psychological care and antidepressants were offered to significantly more FGiD than to IBD respondents (37% vs. 9%; p = .009). Although the symptoms were generally reduced after the prescription of antidepressants, only 30% of IBD respondents and 21% of FGiD respondents using antidepressants would recommend them to others. In contrast, 53% of IBD respondents and 69% of FGiD respondents who used psychotherapy would recommend it to others. Both these therapies were valued by recipients; however, neither was reported to improve gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Given the high desire for and positive experiences of psychological care for these 2 common GI conditions, access to formal psychological support services within GI clinics would appear to be the most efficient model.