Psychological Interventions for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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Psychological interventions have been designed and implemented effectively in a wide range of medical conditions, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). The psychological treatments for IBS and IBD with the strongest evidence base include: cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, and mindfulness-based therapies. The evidence for each of these therapies is reviewed here for both IBS and IBD. In general, there is a stronger and larger evidence base to support the use of psychological interventions in IBS compared with IBD. This is likely due to the high level of psychiatric comorbidity associated with IBS and the involvement of the stress-response in symptom presentation of IBS. Further research in psychosocial interventions for IBD is necessary. Finally, the importance of conceptualizing both IBS and IBD in a biopsychosocial model is discussed and several resources for accessing Clinical Health Psychology materials and referrals are provided.

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