Psychological factors in gastroparesis
Research on the brain-gut axis suggests a link between psychological factors and gastrointestinal symptoms. This relationship is bidirectional:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms are associated with increased psychological distress (e.g. anxiety, depression)
- People who experience psychological distress are more likely to develop gastrointestinal symptoms.
Research shows that individuals living with gastroparesis tend to report lower quality of life than the general population, and that psychological distress tends to increase as gastroparesis symptoms worsen.
Risk factors for psychological distress
Alongside the challenges of managing chronic gastrointestinal symptoms, research shows that some other factors may also influence distress levels in individuals living with gastroparesis.
People with gastroparesis often report finding it difficult to participate in social situations due to their dietary restrictions and eating activities. This can lead sufferers to feel a sense of isolation and loss, which may contribute to psychological distress.
There is also some evidence that certain coping strategies and patterns of thinking can be a risk factor for psychological distress. A psychologist can help you to develop resilient coping strategies that make it easier to manage the challenges associated with gastroparesis.