Generalized Anxiety Disorder Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Treatments

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Treatments
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Generalized Anxiety Disorder Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Among the many symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder; sweating, heart palpitations, a crushing feeling in the chest, gastrointestinal symptoms can sometimes be the worst. The overall stress and tension in the body of those who suffer from this disease so prevalent in our society today is a major contributing factor to generalized anxiety disorder gastrointestinal symptoms. Some examples of these include peptic ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Sufferers of generalized anxiety disorder are often subject to one or more of these symptoms, compounding all of the other symptoms. Fortunately, through medication and other treatment options, help can be found for generalized anxiety disorder gastrointestinal symptoms.

Peptic Ulcer

Research has revealed that psychological factors such as depression, stress, emotional problems, and economic pressure all can lead to peptic ulcers, especially in those already suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. Often times peptic ulcers can be aggravated by health risk factors stemming directly from this disease including smoking, alcohol abuse, insomnia, and poor diet. Treatment often involves good nutrition and a change to a healthier lifestyle. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also an option, a method in which “mindfulness” is taught. Mindfulness is a state in which the patient is encouraged to become immersed in their immediate surroundings, and to live in the “now”, rather than worrying about the future troubles. Medications such as antidepressants and anxiolitics, Xanax, for example, are often helpful as well.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is more prevalent in those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder than those who are not. Most commonly this disease manifests itself either as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The main treatment goals of IBD are to treat the anxiety with antidepressants, cognitive behavioral therapy, or a course of anxiolitics to isolate the gastrointestinal systems further. It has been found that once the anxiety has been treated, most, if not all of the symptoms of IBD dissipate considerably.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common general anxiety disorder gastrointestinal symptoms. It comes in three forms - diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of the two. Many sufferers of IBS also complain of functional dyspepsia and abdominal pain. Anxiety, depression and IBS usually go hand in hand, with anxiety usually coming on at the same time or just before IBS. Again, in order to treat symptoms of IBS, treatment is usually centered on controlling the anxiety first, through medication and therapy, so that the symptoms of IBS can then be isolated.

Abdominal pain can usually be controlled by deep breathing, slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth, and practicing mindfulness techniques. For example, if you are taking a shower, concentrate on the feel of the hot water running over your head and nothing else. Or if you are drinking a cup of tea, actually taste the tea instead of just gulping it down. Being aware of your surroundings, will help you to overcome feelings of anxiety which helps to relax the muscles of the stomach. This will ease the symptoms of IBS, and other gastrointestinal disorders associated with anxiety.

Deep breathing and relaxation are of the utmost importance when dealing with generalized anxiety disorder gastrointestinal symptoms, as tension in the body causes the stomach muscles to knot up and tighten, leading to gastrointestinal disorders. Learning how to relax, concentrate on living in the “now', and staying in tune with your body’s need for good nutrition will all help you on the road to recovery.


  1. Primary Psychiatry -
  2. Pub Med -

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  1. Anxiety - Photobucket: jenniferblack3