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Pubmed-The Use of Psychotherapy for Refractory Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review


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Cureus. 2024 Feb 13;16(2):e54138. doi: 10.7759/cureus.54138. eCollection 2024 Feb.

ABSTRACT

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common yet debilitating and chronic condition that consists of disturbances in bowel habits and abdominal pain that is frequently relieved with defecation. While the first line of treatment for IBS is pharmacological treatment, this has been shown to fail, leading to the patient being classified as having refractory IBS. The quality of life (QOL) of these patients is greatly hindered; in this case, there are rarely moments of relief. Additional modalities of treatment have been employed in classical cases of IBS, such as psychotherapy, and research has started to evaluate its effectiveness with refractory IBS. Both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and gut-directed hypnotherapy (GDH) are effective in treating classical IBS as they restructure and bring a state of meditation to the patient, allowing them to work through the symptoms. The question is whether it remains successful in refractory cases. This systematic review was conducted with strict adherence to PRISMA guidelines with an initial inquiry resulting in 28,978 publications through PubMed, ScienceDirect, and ProQuest databases. Through automatic and manual screening processes, articles that were peer-reviewed experimental or observation publications done between 2003 and 2023 were included in this study, resulting in 21 publications. Across all studies evaluating CBT, it was consistently found to be successful in improving symptom severity and frequency, QOL, and extracolonic symptoms such as anxiety and depression. When broken down into delivery methods, minimal contact CBT was found to be just as, if not superior, to standard contact. Within this, telephone-delivered CBT was superior to web-delivered CBT. GDH and biofeedback therapy were found to also significantly improve all domains of IBS with no difference between them. Acceptance and commitment therapy were found only to improve associated symptoms. However, there was no significant improvement in their QOL, whereas integrative group therapy found no significant improvement in any domain. Because IBS is so common and crippling to those affected, its crucial to continuously improve QOL through advancement in treatment modalities. Further research should focus more on other modes of therapy as success has been shown in standard therapeutic techniques.

PMID:38487115 | PMC:PMC10938188 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.54138

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