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abdominal pain in kids tied to anxiety and depression as adults


Depression Anxiety

“Melancholy” by Constance Marie Charpentier, 1801

“Functional abdominal pain in childhood was associated with anxiety disorder and depression in teens and young adults….. As gastroenterologists we already know there is a strong correlation between the brain and the gut, and it’s often unclear what comes first, the pain or the anxiety”  Medpage Today on a recent study done at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.  The second part of the quote is from Dr. Ritu Verma, chief of gastroenterology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Notice that the quote at the top talks about, Functional Abdominal Pain.  What does this phrase mean?  What is a “Functional” health problem?  It is critical for your health and the health of your family that you understand the difference between functional Problems and Gross Pathology.  In a nutshell, the medical tests will all be negative in persons with pain or other symptoms caused by FUNCTIONAL PROBLEMS.  The individuals in this study on Childhood Functional Abdominal Pain were anywhere from 2.5 – 5 times more likely to suffer from Anxiety and / or Depression (September 2013 issue of Pediatrics).  Furthermore, upon followup (the age for followup was anywhere from 12 to 32 — average age, 20) …………..

  • Over 40% of those with “Functional Abdominal Pain” in childhood, met criteria for having an adult Gastrointestinal Disorder.

  • Adult Anxiety was seen in over 50% of the childhood Functional Abdominal Pain group, when compared to the control group (20%).

  • Adult Depression was seen in 40% of the childhood Functional Abdominal Pain group, when compared to the control group (just over 15%).

  • If you carried Childhood Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders to adulthood, your chances of developing Depression were 414% greater than the general population, and the chances of developing Anxiety were a whopping 731% greater.

Truthfully; knowing what we know about the relationship between the GUT AND BRAIN, should we be surprised by these sorts of statistics?  I should say not.  In fact, it is probably about exactly what one would expect to see.  Let’s step into a time machine for a moment, and go back fifty or sixty years. People were not swimming in an ocean of ANTIBIOTICS (from both the MEAT they ate and the doctors they visited).  Most people had a GARDEN, and spent time working in the soil (the same bacteria most commonly found in organic soil should be found in your gut as well).  If you were admitted to the hospital for anything, the first thing you got was an ENEMA.  Why?  The medical community still understood that a clean bowel helped people heal better / faster —- no matter their problem.  And while people were certainly clean, they were far less likely to be OVERLY CLEAN like we tend to be today.

If you want to get a handle on any sort of Chronic Illness (including DEPRESSION or AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE), you need to first get a handle on GUT HEALTH.  Gut Health is so critical to overall health that I created a website called ENDOGUT (the relationship between the Endocrine System, the Immune System, and the Gut) to help you understand how it all works together.  And none of this even begins to address the issue of LEAKY GUT SYNDROME.  If you are suffering from Depression, Anxiety, GI Disorders, or a wide array of health problems that could potentially fall into the category of “Functional“, take a few minutes to read the links (AS WELL AS THIS).


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