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Colitis and Mental Health

Hi, my daughter was diagnosed with UC 2 years ago, she's had couple of major flare-ups, the last one lasting 7 months. Her consultant is considering putting her on Biogenics.
My question is how this physically affects her mental health. I have read that the production of Serotonin may be affected and therefore her sense of well being.
She has changed from a happy lively girl into someone I can only describe as Bi-Polar.
Obviously I know having UC is major in her young life, but even when shes not flaring, she is a uncontrollable mess emotionally. Its worse than that actually, she has no good relationships, having been so evil to her friends/boyfriend, and as a family we dread her coming home from Uni.
I love her so much but dont know how to help her. She wont see the doc or talk to anyone, but its getting so bad that we cant cope with her.
Has anyone else experienced this side of UC?

  1. Hi, first of all, I want to say how inspiring you are. Caring for your daughter and actively looking to help her.
    I'm 19 years old, was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at 17. (I'm a teenager myself!) I am taking Humira, a biologic. I never considered this idea of serotonin before. Is she on steroids right now? Steroids are known to affect mood. It makes a person hyper, and in my case good for relationships. I don't think my meds affected my emotional health, rather my environment did. Its common knowledge that the causes of IBD are genetic and environmental. I would like to turn your question around and ask if her environment or emotional turmoil might have worsened her Colitis.
    You mentioned that she isn't in a good place mentally now. Perhaps it's time to differentiate between her physical and emotional health? It's very common for IBD patients to have problems like anxiety and depression because of the uncertainty with the disease. Many of us have seen a therapist to learn how to deal with everything.
    Lastly, please be understanding. Your daughter's whole life has changed with this diagnosis. She is missing out on a lot of social interaction. She is embarrassed to use public bathrooms, she has fears and uncertainty about her entire life. She knows that she can't live wherever she wants to because she needs her medications. She is worried about her financial future, afraid of her future medical expenses. She is afraid of becoming really sick and needing an ileostomy. Her self-image is affected. Her fluctuating weight feels maddening. If she's on steroids, she might have experienced a puffy face. She's afraid of future marriage. Will she be too sick, and her boyfriend won't want to marry her?
    She needs counseling. She needs to speak to someone just to get it out. I don't think she has any mental disorders, she is just going through a rough time. She needs real friends. She needs to feel that she belongs, that she's understood.
    Please excuse me if I came across as domineering. I don't mean to tell you what to do. I just wish I could tell all this to my own mother...

    1. Hi, thank you so much for your reply, you describe her exactly. I think youre right, she needs to speak to someone, her UNI has offered her a therapist, but she insists shes fine and wont hear of it. Guess we'll have to see how this progresses. Thank you for all your help.

      1. Try to negotiate with her for perhaps 3 sessions. If she still feels anti-counselling tell her it's her decision. Finding the right person is difficult but rewarding. Please take care of yourself too. Nothing leaves the counselling session but the patient. Perhaps fear is holding her back. Unloading emotions is liberating.

        1. ,

          Just from personal experience, when I was diagnosed things changed with my mental health majorly. I was always upbeat and easy-going and even a bit of a comedian. It wasn't until years later that I realized how much my gut effected my mental health. Serotonin is produced in the gut so you can imagine that when your gut is diseased, Serotonin is no longer produced as it used to be.

          I became quite moody. I barely laughed. My emotions were all over the place and I was also on Steroids might I add, which border-line makes you crazy. The diagnosis is a lot to deal with emotionally but truly due to the physical ailment, it causes mental health the suffer greatly.

          I felt better once I started seeing a therapist but mostly, I felt the best once I got the disease under control. I became myself again and that only happened with the proper medication which took some years to find.

          I'm really sorry your daughter is going through this. It must be hard to watch her endure this. I would just suggest loving her unconditionally and being patient which I'm sure you already do. Perhaps suggest therapy but only gently as that is something she will have to do on her own.

          I hope this helps some.

          Big hugs, Elizabeth (team member)

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