People dealing with IBS often have to deal with psychological symptoms as well as physiological symptoms.The brain & the gut are connected together via numerous neurological pathways. The gut & brain also extensively use serotonin to communicate. Serotonin is a chemical that is often related to mood & anxiety disorders. This neurological & chemical connection is known as the “brain-gut connection”. Some researchers have even referred to the digestive system as “the second brain”.
With that in mind, it is not surprising that when one side of this “brain-gut” connection is having problems it will affect the other side as well. For example, people who are constipated are usually grumpy. If you’re dealing with cramping & diarrhea you’re likely to become anxious. Meanwhile if you’re dealing with psychological stress such as if you’re anxious about a test, a job interview or if you are frightened suddenly, these psychological experiences may manifest themselves physically via cramping, nausea or diarrhea.
There is also the toll that a chronic illness can take on a person. Constantly dealing with the symptoms, stress, isolation & fatigue of a chronic illness can lead to lowered self-esteem & depression or increase ones susceptibility to anxiety & panic attacks.