The American Journal of Gastroenterology did a study about IBS and what is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy is where a therapist tries to help people control the way they think about behaviors, and in this case, how they think about their bodies.
This study looked at 200 adults who suffer from IBS over a 10-week period. The adults were given cognitive behavioral therapy or some type of a stress-management program over the internet. By the end of the study, the majority of the patients in both groups were having adequate relief of their symptoms and pain. But six months after the study ended, those people who had received CBT did a lot better than those who didn’t.
This study really proves to us that CBT can really help people to deal with things that they are fearful of as it relates to IBS. Many people with IBS actually fear and avoid certain foods or certain situations because they worry they may exacerbate symptoms. But in fact, CBT helps them identify these thoughts and behaviors that may not be helping their symptoms and help them to regain a more normal lifestyle again. CBT is safe, effective, cheap and has no side-effects, particularly compared to many medicines!