The irritable colon syndrome and psychiatric illness

J. L. Liss, D. Alpers, R. A. Woodruff

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117 Scopus citations


Twenty five patients with irritable colon were evaluated both medically and psychiatrically. Symptoms of the upper gastrointestinal tract occurred frequently in association with those of the colon, suggesting that the syndrome is diffuse, and not confined to the colon. Patients were given structured, research psychiatric interviews, and were classified with diagnostic criteria designed specifically for research. 23 (93%) were judged to be psychiatrically ill as follows: anxiety neurosis (8), undiagnosed psychiatric disorder (8), hysteria (5), and primary affective disorder, depressed type (2). 2 patients had no psychiatric disorder. Two thirds of psychiatrically ill patients had experienced the onset of psychiatric symptoms prior to the onset of symptoms of irritable colon. Gastrointestinal symptoms tended to conform to the course of each patient's psychiatric illness. These findings suggest that the symptoms of irritable colon are often part of one of several diagnosable psychiatric illnesses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-157
Number of pages7
JournalDisease of the Nervous System
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1973


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