Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Inflammatory bowel disease doesn't just affect you physically — it takes an emotional toll as well. If signs and symptoms are severe, your life may revolve around a constant need to run to the toilet. When you do, you might worry about an accident, and this anxiety only makes your symptoms worse.

Support groups

One of the best ways to feel more in control is to find out as much as possible about inflammatory bowel disease. Organizations such as the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) have chapters across the United States to provide information and access to support groups. Contact the organization directly at 888-MY-GUTPAIN (888-694-8872).

Counseling

Some people find it helpful to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist who's familiar with inflammatory bowel disease and the emotional difficulties it can cause. Ask your doctor for a referral if you think counseling might be helpful for you.

Although support groups aren't for everyone, they can provide valuable information about your condition as well as emotional support. Group members frequently know about the latest medical treatments or integrative therapies. You may also find it reassuring to be among people who understand what you're going through.

Dec. 13, 2012