Ulcerative Colitis and Depression
For patients diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease Ulcerative Colitis, living with the condition often means an overhaul of one’s lifestyle and finding completely new ways of doing old things. Many things that were previously taken for granted now require much more forethought and preparation. This new reality can take its toll both mentally and physically on Ulcerative Colitis patients.
For example, a patient living with Ulcerative Colitis who wants to go out to dinner may have to put certain plans in place. Firstly, one may have to decide what he or she is going to eat for dinner that night as all foods are not equal when dealing with Ulcerative Colitis. On the other hand, one may have to make note of all the bathrooms and where they are in the instance that one needs to go and use the bathroom. Preparing for any outing in these sorts of ways is central to Ulcerative Colitis experience. These mental stressors and considerations – in addition to the physical symptoms that result from living with Ulcerative Colitis – can lead to mental health conditions like Depression.
Symptoms and Causes of UC Depression
As is intimated above, having to deal with the many ways living with Ulcerative Colitis requires one to change the way they live in order to cope with the conditions and symptoms of the disease, can have a negative emotional impact on those living with the condition. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that one of the most commonly experienced mental health conditions for those living with Ulcerative Colitis. Below, we take a closer look at the link between Ulcerative Colitis and Depression.
Although depression is a fairly common condition for those who live with the Ulcerative Colitis inflammatory bowel disease, there is admittedly no evidence to suggest that depression in those living with the condition is as a direct result of having Ulcerative Colitis. In some cases, patients may simply be predisposed to both conditions . Still, it is true that living with the wide range of symptoms and complications from the condition can result in negative thoughts and pervasive negative thinking that will at the very least exacerbate feelings and experiences of depression and anxiety .
Approximately 80% of patients living with Ulcerative Colitis are also suffering from some form of Depression. This is significant when compared with Ulcerative Colitis is one of those conditions where the patients’ experiences will vacillate between periods of flare-ups and periods of remission. Studies show that experiences with Depression for Ulcerative Colitis patients will significantly increase during those periods of a flare-up with rates being as high as 80% for anxiety and 60% for depression. Outside of UC flare-ups (that is, during remission), these rates fall to approximately 29% and 35% respectively . Importantly, both anxiety and depression are disorders that are more likely to be diagnosed in UC patients before their diagnosis – particularly, if those being diagnosed are women .
Studies looking at Ulcerative Colitis and Depression, as well as other mental health disorders, have found that there are other conditions (in addition to flare-ups) that are associated with having an exacerbated case of depression and/or anxiety. A November 2012 study in the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases journal showed that in addition to active flares, there are other conditions surrounding living with Ulcerative Colitis that can result in some patients experiencing increased levels of anxiety and depression. Such conditions include the following:
– Low Income
– Severe symptoms from UC or other chronic diseases
– Disability or unemployment
– Older age
and more .
Exploring Treatment Options: UC Depression and Essential Oils
Treating Depression in Ulcerative Colitis patients is not necessarily a straight-forward feat. For starters, the symptoms of depression (both in general and as far as it relates to Ulcerative Colitis specifically) show up in different forms and to varying degrees of severity among patients. Consequently, treatment of the same can vary in form and in potency or intensity. Admittedly, some of the symptoms that can indicate anxiety and/or cases of Depression in Ulcerative Colitis patients are similar to those of general Depression. These symptoms include the following:
– Frequent anxiety and nerves (or nervousness) lasting for a period of about six months or more
– Sudden spells of panic or fear
– Avoiding reminders of traumatic events
– Feeling hopeless, down in the dumps, and uninterested in doing many of the things that were previous
It is important that Ulcerative Colitis patients are able to recognize some of these symptoms themselves and understand that there are steps they can take to cope with Ulcerative Colitis and Depression alike.
Importantly, in addition to the feelings of worry, sadness, and other emotions resulting from concerns about the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis leading to depression, there are instances where physical features of the disease can be a contributing factor to anxiety, depression, and other forms of mental health in UC patients. For example, it is true that a lack of nutrition (or malnutrition) resulting from poor absorption or chemical imbalances (which are both symptoms of the disease) can be contributing factors to depression in patients with Ulcerative Colitis.
There are lots of benefits to be had from including essential oils in your regime of remedying some of the physical and emotional symptoms of both Ulcerative Colitis and Depression alike. In fact, depression in UC patients is one condition that essential oils can help to treat as far as the symptoms are concerned. This is due in large part to the fact that there are many soothing and calming properties found in many available essential oils that are transferred to the body and the mind when used as treatments. Two of the common essential oils that can be used as an option in treating Depression associated with Ulcerative Colitis include the following:
Lavender Essential Oil for Depression
Lavender is well-known for its wide variety of uses including reducing stress, restlessness, and irritability — all of which are Depression triggers. In addition to reducing these triggers, Lavender is also great for promoting relaxation. Some popular ways to use the drug include diffusion, rubbing a few drops on one’s wrists or behind the ears. It is important when applying Lavender to one’s skin , that one uses a carrier oil. Additionally, one can opt to inhale a few drops of the Lavender essential oil in a diffuser or directly from the bottle as its aromatherapy use is also very effective .
Bergamot FCF Essential Oil for Depression
A derivative of Bergamot from the Seville orange tree, Bergamot FCF is a non-phototoxic, furocoumarin-free essential oil. This oil is particularly great for calming an overactive mine, inspiring fresh energy, and creating feelings of joy. These are all key benefits for patients living with UC Depression. The oil can be applied by putting it in baths, perfumes, massage oils, and aromatherapy. Additionally, the oil can be applied (or rubbed) directly into the soles of the feet or into the skin of the stomach. Again, once this oil is being applied topically, it is important that it is used along with a carrier oil.