Genetic connection between mental illness and bowel diseases?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Maybe this is purely coincidental, but I'm starting to wonder.

    We have mental illness in our family -- bipolar, ADHD, MDD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). AND we also have a couple family members (immediate and extended) that have some type of bowel disease (Crohn's and Ulcerative colitis).

    I know of EIGHT other families who also have Crohn's disease or UC AND bipolar disorder in one or more of their family members.

    Makes me wonder if the genes for these two diseases are near eachother on the chromosome, and if their expression is triggered by similar factors.

  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Your family history is similar to mine. :winks:
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know of the possibility of genetic connection between mental illness and fibro which also has IBS as one of its symptoms. Tons of people have bipolar or depression and also IBS and then end up with fibro or CFS.
  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    We have a family history of celiac disease and now, gluten intolerance. I would have a mentally ill child but she is on the girlfriend diet and is fine. My grandmother, the only one offically diagnosis'ed with celiac back in the 60's, was told it could make her anxious and irritable. She knew not staying on her diet did that to her. My grandfather was thinking of taking her for electroshock treatment at one point, it was so bad. That side of the family probably has undx'ed Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) also.

    One of my daughters had stomach problems from gluten and the other daughter and I had mental problems. One cause, different presentations.

    We have had the most success in our family by tracking down the cause of health problems and the mental problems have improved. Another example is my other daughter with Lyme Disease. Treating her Lyme has eliminated her bipolar-like rage.

    I don't know if it is genetic or an undx'ed illness or something else, but I think the physical and mental problems could easily be related.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow. Interesting discussion.
  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oldest is the only person on either side of the family with inflammatory bowel disease, although my mother and aunt suspect their father might have had Crohn's as well. I suspect mental illness/bipolar/personality disorders on both my side and her father's side, however. Undiagnosed as well, though (yeah in these families, the crazy people don't get help, they just stay crazy!)

    I definitely think there is a correlation between IBD and depression, I've seen many discussions about it on the message baords at the online support group I'm a member of. It's interesting to hear about others with a "dual diagnosis" with IBD/other bowel-related diseases, and bipolar, however. I wish I'd known some of those when Oldest was growing up, I really felt alone in that. Especially when prednisone made her psychotic ...
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting theory.

    My father has Crohn's, but no diagnosis'd mental illness (as far as I know). However, his father was an alcoholic, so he grew up being the perfect person...all image and show, who insisted on the perfect family. But when he was home...different story. I remember his being absolutely furious with me when I was about 12, and told him executives only had kids because it looked good on the Christmas cards. Very driven to be successful, very big on having the good stuff, but knowing exactly how to work the crowd when he wanted something.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    There are connections all over the place to autoimmune disorders, heart disease, cancer, etc, in people with mental illness - biological or otherwise (i.e., PTSD). In fact, I read a Cleveland Clinic study that stated that depression is as much a risk factor for coronary artery disease as smoking.

    So, I have to think that while there could definitely be a genetic component, I think there is a definite brain/body connection going on as well.

    Just my two cents.