Psychotherapy Provides Long-Term Benefits for IBS

Psychologist talking to depressed woman in the office

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 10-15% of the world population. In the United States, upwards of 45 million people suffer from IBS, with symptoms including abdominal pain and discomfort and change bowel habits.

Stuart MacFarlane, a distinguished therapist, has found psychotherapy can help relieve symptoms of IBS for patients. While psychotherapy is known to provide short-term relief from IBS symptoms, a recent study found these benefits could have a long-term impact.

The study, published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, analyzed data on over 2,200 patients with IBS across 41 clinical trials and found the benefits provided by psychotherapy lasted at least six to 12 after the therapy had ended.

There are many different types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive therapy and hypnosis, and the researchers found no major variations in efficiency among the different types. The study also found the number of sessions or length of treatment had a little impact on the potential benefits and that online therapy is equally as effective as in-person treatments.

This study shows that the mind and the body are connected. As explained in a press release: “Gastrointestinal symptoms can increase stress and anxiety, which can increase the severity of the symptoms. This is a vicious cycle that psychological treatment can help break.”


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