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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, are chronic intestinal disorders that requires lifelong treatments. IBD are associated with perceived stress, poor quality of life, and psychopathological disorders. Previous studies have documented that psychological distress and depression are risk factors for IBD. On the other hand, IBD itself might be a source of psychological stress. IBD negatively affect individuals' daily social interactions and close interpersonal relationships. Despite IBD's detrimental effects on quality of life, patients' adherence to medicaments remains low, increasing the risk of relapses and the subsequent worsening of the clinical condition. Drawing on attachment and mentalization theories, we aim to contribute to understanding of the mechanisms involved in the poor quality of social relationships and the tendency for medication non-adherence in patients with IBD. We hypothesize a bidirectional link between IBD and attachment style and related mentalization abilities, where an individual's attachment style refers to a complex and characteristic pattern of relating to self and others and mentalization refers to the process of inferring one's own and others' mental and physical states. This hypothesized link between IBD and insecure attachment style, mediated by reduced mentalizing abilities, may be a risk factor for developing both IBD-related psychological disorders and reduced medication adherence, which could then lead to worsening disease management and prognoses for the disease course. The medication nonadherence is here considered as both an outcome and a risk factor of this vicious circle. We share the view that preventing the worsening of the IBD condition and promoting patients' medication adherence would be possible by considering the circular relationship between IBD, attachment, and mentalization and by promoting reflective functioning in patients with IBD, from the onset of the disease.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Medical hypotheses
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A species of Faecalbacterium, previously classified in the FUSOBACTERIUM genus, that is a major constituent of the GUT MICROBIOTA in healthy humans. It has anti-inflammatory activity and reduced numbers of this species occur in patients with INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASES such as CROHN DISEASE.
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