Aim: To determine the psychiatric symptom assesment of patients seeking treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and to demonstrate the presence of more complicated psychiatric disorders.
Subjects and Method: The participants were recruited from patients who were attending internal medicine and gastroenterology clinics and who fullfilled the Rome III criteria for IBS. Fifty patients with IBS (IBS group) and 50 patients with complaints other than gastrointestinal symptoms (control group) were randomly selected. All participants were screened by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Symptom Check list – 90 (Revised) [SCL-90-R].
Results: Seventeen patients (34%) and three control subjects (6%) had at least one psychiatric diagnosis (p = 0.001). Global severity index (GSI) total scores and SCL-90-R items were significantly higher in the IBS group than the control group (0.92 ± 0.46 vs 0.358 ± 0.19, p < 0.001). Beck anxiety inventory and BDI scores were higher in the IBS group than the control group (p < 0.001). Axis-I psychiatric disorders diagnosed with SCID-I were significantly higher in the IBS group (34% vs 6%) [p = 0.001]. Among the Axis-I disorders, somatoform and anxiety disorders were higher in the patient group than in the control subjects (p = 0.002 and p = 0.0057) whereas there was no difference for mood disorders (p = 0.204). Seven (14%) of the patients and two (4%) of the control subjects had at least one Axis-II psychiatric disorder diagnosed with SCID-II without any significance (p = 0.159).
Conclusion: These findings suggest that except for mood and personality disorders, almost all psychiatric symptoms and disease co-morbities with IBS are higher than in the sample without IBS. We can easily use SCL-90-R, BAI and BDI in internal medicine and gastroenterology clinics to detect psychiatric symptom levels and then to refer patients to a psychiatrist for further evaluation and treatment.