Evidence supports the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural approaches in improving the symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Duration, cost and resistance of many patients towards a psychological therapy have limited their acceptance.
Dr Labus and his team of doctors examined the effectiveness of a psycho-educational intervention on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
The team randomized 69 IBS patients to an intervention or a wait-list control group.
The research team noted that the irritable bowel syndrome class consisted of education on a biological mind body disease model, emphasizing self-efficacy and practical relaxation techniques.
Patients in the intervention showed significant improvement on GI symptom severity, visceral sensitivity, depression and quality of life postintervention, and most of these gains were maintained at 3-month follow-up.
|Mediation was less effective for patients entering the intervention with high quality of life|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The doctors found that change in anxiety, visceral sensitivity, quality of life, and catastrophizing due to the intervention had moderate mediation effects on improvements in GI symptom severity for patients entering the trial with low to average quality of life.
Also, change in GI symptom severity due to the intervention had moderate mediation effects on improvements in quality of life especially in patients with low to average levels of quality of life at baseline.
The researchers noted that mediation was less effective for patients entering the intervention with high quality of life.
Dr Labus' team concluded, "A brief psycho-educational group intervention is efficacious in changing cognitions and fears about the symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome, and these changes are associated with clinically meaningful improvement in symptoms and quality of life."
"The intervention seems particularly tailored to patients with low to moderate quality of life baseline levels."