Monday, October 1, 2012

Crohn’s and Depression

I saw this recent story of a young man named Michael Isreal who was only 20 years old who suffered from Crohn’s and also suffered from prescription drug abuse. He committed suicide in May 2011. He was an architecture major at University of Buffalo. He suffered Crohn’s since he was 12 years old.
Once Michael turned 18 his prescriptions started to change. He took pill after pill and they never fixed his Crohn’s. Michael was taking 21 pills per day. Among these drugs were hydrocodone which can become addicted I am curious if he ever took Humira or Remicade which has actually helped people. He told his father about his addiction and enrolled in a detox program (however the detox program was out of beds). Right after this is when Michael Isreal took his life at only 20 years old.

In light of Michael’s death the family is pushing for the Internet System for Tracking Over Prescribing Act (I-STOP)  which would set up databases to give doctors information on prescription drugs that patients take. This would just create an underground market for drugs like hydrocodone and other pain medications which would make the problem worse. If anything we should be allowing more people to use these type of drugs in order to treat the addiction people have. If people really want to take their own life they will. If you make it harder to use prescription drugs people will commit suicide in other ways.

I did some research on any links between Crohn’s and depression or other mental illnesses. In this study found that Crohn’s patients had a greater chance of having psychiatric disorder and more had depression then the controls. Personally when I was younger I use to see a psychotherapist who helped me through some self esteem issues however that was when I was a young adolescent. The only other time I really filled down was right after I got Crohn’s. At first I had no idea what I had and when I was in the hospital felt good and then when I came out came to the realization of what I had and got down knowing I had a life long illnesses. A few of the first nights I cried and was kind of blue. Over time I came to realize I have to live life to the fullest and not let Crohn’s get in the way. After Humira I felt like I never had Crohn’s.

In this study it was found that lifetime prevalence for Crohn’s patients is 29% which is higher than ulcerative colitis (21%) or cystic fibrosis. It should be pointed out that this study was done in 1989 which was before Humira, Remicade, and other biologics were introduced. In an odd way if you get Crohn’s now is the time to get it given all the technological advances that have been made.  This doesn't even include the future things that will be discovered or created

I wonder if any genes are related to Crohn’s and depression. This would be an interesting study for researchers to undertake. Also who knows what advances they might make in treating depression. I have a feeling studying the genome, understanding of inflammatory bowel diseases, and understanding the immune system better will give patients a better shot of turning their frown upside down. 

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