Common gut disease linked to high risk of substance use disorder

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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an inflammatory condition, encompassing ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease, where the body launches inflammatory responses against the gastrointestinal tract.

This can result in symptoms such as severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue.

The rates of IBD in Canada are among the highest in the world. Separately, IBD and substance use disorder have a big impact on the quality of life.

In a recent study from the University of Manitoba, researchers found that one in six persons with IBD experiences a substance use disorder in their lifetime.

The study also identified that people with IBD and who are men, smokers, those who have past or current anxiety disorders, and those with more pain are at greater risk for experiencing a substance use disorder.

The study is among the first to examine substance use disorder in IBD and provides a foundation for future research of the burden and harms of IBD and substance use disorder.

The study is published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. The lead author is Heather Carney, a third-year pharmacy student.

In the study, the team evaluated the prevalence and risk factors of substance use disorders in those with IBD using data collected from 247 individuals in Manitoba with IBD.

While it has been established that there is a strong association between IBD and several psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, there was minimal prior research on the association between substance use disorder and IBD.

The team says they hope to see more resources allocated for prevention and harm reduction to help decrease the burden of substance use disorder in those with IBD as well as in the general population.

They also hope to see future research on the effect of substance use disorder on outcomes in IBD, which are still unknown.

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