According to a 2012 study, about 30 percent of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) experience some level of depression. Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in those with IBS.

The study also indicated that generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), characterized by excessive and persistent worrying, is present in about 15 percent of those with IBS.

Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a common and serious mood disorder. It causes persistent negative feelings and affects how you think, feel, and handle daily activities.

If you’re experiencing depression, a psychiatrist or psychologist might suggest treatments such as:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression can occur along with other serious illnesses, making these conditions worse and vice versa.

IBS and the onset of depression

A 2009 study showed that beyond the physical symptoms, patients described the effects of IBS on daily function, thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

They cited “uncertainty and unpredictability with loss of freedom, spontaneity and social contacts, as well as feelings of fearfulness, shame, and embarrassment.”

Depression and the onset of IBS

A 2012 study indicated that, in some people, there are psychological and social factors that can lead to IBS. These influence digestive function, symptom perception, and outcome.

A 2016 study concluded that there’s strong evidence that the gut and brain interact bidirectionally in IBS.

Your medication for IBS might help your depression and vice versa. You should speak with your doctor about your medication options.

In addition to helping depression, TCAs can inhibit the activity of neurons controlling the intestines. This may reduce abdominal pain and diarrhea. Your doctor might prescribe:

SSRIs are a medication for depression, but they may help with IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain and constipation. Your doctor might prescribe:

The combination of IBS and depression isn’t uncommon. If you think you may have depression, talk to your doctor. They can do diagnostic tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. If you do have depression, they might suggest that you visit a mental health professional.

You can also contact your community health center, local mental health association, your insurance plan, or look online to find a mental health professional in your area.