Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
In IBS

Cognitive behavioural therapy in IBS sufferers is a psychological treatment that is gaining increased interest recently through talking.

We know that Irritable Bowel Syndrome is associated with an increased risk of:

  • Anxiety – a common symptom that can make IBS worse
  • Depression – Up to 40% of sufferers are thought to have a degree of this.
  • Neuroticism
  • Mood Swings
  • Panic Attacks
  • Sleep Disturbance – extremely common to a lot of people

It is aimed at altering your perceptions about the condition and your behaviour to it. By doing so, you learn to accept what is important and deny those which are not.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy In IBS

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  • Education - an important aspect of the therapy and one that shouldn't be ignored
  • Good Relationships - trust during your treatment is so important to the therapist-patient relationship
  • Stress Management - we all know that stress can affect the symptoms you have and dealing with them is vital

Components of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy In IBS

There are several different components that need to be addressed with CBT.  The aim of all this is to make sense of your feelings and these include:

Education

Having an understanding of your symptoms and ways of dealing with them are very important.

It is only through education that you can gain control of your symptoms, knowing what they are, how they occur and that they are not life threatening.

Through appreciating this, coping strategies are can be developed and by doing so, symptoms will lessen.

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Good Relationships

It doesn’t really matter who is providing the cognitive behavioural therapy, the important thing is maintaining a good relationship with them.

Trust in the person whether it is a doctor, nurse, psychologist or another suitably qualified person is vital.

Being able to open up and express your feelings with comfort is vital and a big element of CBT.

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Stress Management

Stress management is another important facet to CBT. Learning ways to control your stress, a common trigger to symptoms is very important.

This can done through courses, web based programs or through your own primary carer.

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Combining CBT with Conventional Therapies

On current evidence, the combination of CBT and conventional therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome such as medications, hypnotherapy, diet and lifestyle changes are more effective than conventional alone.

If you have not gained the control you need, there may be two reasons for this. First, the diagnosis may be wrong and you should discuss this with your doctor.

Second, you may need to consider changing your current conventional therapy or consider the addition of the CBT too.

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How Can I Access This Therapy?

Your doctor should be able to refer you to a person with an interest in cognitive behavioural therapy for IBS sufferers.

There are also self-help books and CD’s available.

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Have you had cognitive behavioural therapy for your IBS? Why not give a treatment review and pay it forwards to help others.

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