Advertisement

Can antidepressants treat gastrointestinal (GI) disorders?

Lawrence S. Friedman, MD
Gastroenterology
If either anxiety or depression appears to be a factor in a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, specific treatment for anxiety or depression, including referral to a mental health professional, may be needed. Moreover, patients with severe GI symptoms, especially those with chronic pain, may benefit from treatment with antidepressants even if they are not depressed. Although these medications are most often prescribed to help alleviate depression and anxiety, in lower doses they also act to relieve pain. One large analysis of patients with irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia found that in all 12 studies examined, patients treated with antidepressants showed an improvement in abdominal pain scores compared with placebo. Antidepressants also improve a sense of overall well-being in functional GI disorder patients. And they can benefit gut motility (ability of digestive tract to propel its contents).

Continue Learning about Antidepressant

Are Antidepressants Safe to Take During Pregnancy?
Are Antidepressants Safe to Take During Pregnancy?
Research suggests that depression is diagnosed twice as often in women as it is in men, and it typically presents during a woman’s childbearing years....
Read More
How should I take antidepressants if I have bipolar disorder?
World Federation For Mental Health (WFMH)World Federation For Mental Health (WFMH)
Most guidelines recommend an antidepressant only if in combination with a mood stabilizer (e.g. lith...
More Answers
What should I know before taking serotonin reuptake inhibitors?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
If you take an SRI, you should avoid alcohol. It is not known if all SRIs are safe or effective for...
More Answers
What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?
What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.