Contract grant sponsor: VA Health Sciences Research and Development (HSR&D) Career Development Award; Contract grant sponsor: National Institutes of Health; Contract grant number: K23 HL 094765-01; Contract grant sponsor: Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center of the US Veterans Health Administration.
ASSOCIATION OF MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS WITH GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS
Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Depression and Anxiety
Focus on PTSD
Volume 31, Issue 2, pages 160–165, February 2014
How to Cite
Maguen, S., Madden, E., Cohen, B., Bertenthal, D. and Seal, K. (2014), ASSOCIATION OF MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS WITH GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS. Depress. Anxiety, 31: 160–165. doi: 10.1002/da.22072
- Issue online: 27 JAN 2014
- Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 20 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Received: 18 OCT 2012
- VA Health Sciences Research and Development. Grant Number: HSR&D
- Career Development Award (Maguen)
- National Institutes of Health. Grant Number: K23 HL 094765–01
- Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center of the US Veterans Health Administration
- gastrointestinal disorders;
- mental health;
- posttraumatic stress disorder;
- irritable bowel syndrome
Gastrointestinal disorders (GIDs) represent a large public health burden, affecting an estimated 60–70 million Americans annually. Our goal was to examine the relationship between GID and the most common mental health disorders in a national group of newly returning veterans. We also evaluated gender differences in the association of mental health disorders and GID.
We utilized a retrospective, longitudinal cohort analysis of veterans’ health records. Participants were 603,221 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were new users of VA healthcare from October 7, 2001 (start of the war in Afghanistan) to December 31, 2010.
The prevalence of GID in newly returning veterans was nearly 20%, and veterans with a mental health disorder were at least twice as likely to have a GID as those without mental health disorders. For women, the increased risk of all GIDs was greatest among those with depression. Among men, the increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was greatest among those with posttraumatic stress disorder. IBS was the GID most strongly associated with mental health conditions among both genders.
The large proportion of newly returning veterans with GIDs and comorbid mental health diagnoses is concerning. Successful detection and treatment of GIDs associated with mental health disorders will require integrated efforts from primary care and mental health.