Irritable Bowel Syndrome Brief Psychotherapy- Know More!

Written by: Shruthi Chacko – M Sc (Psychology)

Last updated date : July 21, 2022

Table of Contents

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Brief Psychotherapy- Know More!

  1. Does Gut- Brain Connection really exist?
  2. Does Psychotherapy actually work for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
  3. Important Note

We all have butterflies in our stomachs now and then. It is our bodies natural response to stress, anxiety or even being near someone whom we like. However, it is not normal if one constantly has abnormal bowel movements and other symptoms such as bloating and gas. All of these are red flags for a far more serious condition. Have you heard of Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Did you know psychotherapy can help you with this? Read this article to know more about the Brief Psychotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

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Table of Contents

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Brief Psychotherapy- Know More!

  1. Does Gut- Brain Connection really exist?
  2. Does Psychotherapy actually work for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
  3. Important Note

We all have butterflies in our stomachs now and then. It is our bodies natural response to stress, anxiety or even being near someone whom we like. However, it is not normal if one constantly has abnormal bowel movements and other symptoms such as bloating and gas. All of these are red flags for a far more serious condition. Have you heard of Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Did you know psychotherapy can help you with this? Read this article to know more about the Brief Psychotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Chapter 1:
Does Gut- Brain Connection really exist?

The gut-brain connection is real. Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach on the first day of work? Have you ever heard someone saying they have a “gut feeling”? We use these expressions for a reason. Also, the gut is very receptive to our emotions. It could be happiness, sadness, anger- all these emotions can trigger certain symptoms in our gut. The brain has an immediate effect on our stomachs. For example, you are feeling hungry and you are thinking of a pizza, you would be surprised to know that your stomach releases juices anticipating for the food. Hence, this connection is a two-way process. A troubled stomach sends a signal to your brain, just as how your brain sends a signal to your gut. Hence, the gut and brain are interconnected and have an effect on each other.

What is the connection to Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome irritates not only your gut but also your mind. It can make you feel annoyed, angry or just irritated. Such negative symptoms are not good for your Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Studies have shown that emotional stress can make the condition worse. Stress may release inflammatory agents, this increases the inflammation in the gut and elsewhere. Also, it can affect the immune system. Stress can cause a fight or flight reaction in the central nervous system. Further, makes the neurotransmitters and hormones pump and it sends signals to the central nervous system. During this process, the digestion slows down. Hence, this slower digestion leads to abdominal pain or various other gut-related concerns. Now you might be wondering how you can manage your stress levels. 

This article will give you a lot of insight into how to cope with the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Brief Psychotherapy. 

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Chapter 2:
Does Psychotherapy actually work for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Of course, it can help. Research has shown that behavioural psychotherapies have shown to improve not only the distress related to the condition but also shown to reduce the symptoms. There are many therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, Mindfulness therapy, relaxation therapy and many more. These are a few of the Brief Psychotherapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Cogntive Behavioral Therapy
Research has shown that CBT is quite effective to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It helps in improving bowel movements, emotional distress and improves the quality of living. CBT helps to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and improves one’s emotional state. It is believed that our feelings, thoughts and behaviour are all related to each other. CBT encourages the therapist and the client to work together to make a plan to work on the symptoms, which can involve certain homework and activities. It is very common for all of us to experience ups and downs in life. These situations can make us get stressed out. Many times, we feel that we can control these stressful situations. There are times when we feel these situations are out of our hands. There are two approaches for coping with these coping with stressful situations.
  • Active coping
In this approach, the focus is on addressing the problem. This can be done by making a pros and cons list or by making an action plan. This can be applied to how to tackle the issue of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Passive coping
In this approach, the focus is away from the problem. Instead, it is towards the emotional state. Hence, it includes activities such as talking to a family member or to a friend. Also, using relaxation strategies. Hence, using an active coping approach in controllable stressful situations is helpful. Whereas, it is best to use a passive coping approach in an uncontrollable stressful situation. Thus, CBT helps the client to reach balance to deal with situations. It gives people a sense of balance in their life. Overall, it encourages to have a positive mindset. Therefore, this can be effective for dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Hypnosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnosis involves progressive relaxation, using imagery and a sensation focused approach. Research has shown that there have been improvements in well being, constipation, diarrhoea and bloating. Contrary to how movies and novels show a hypnotherapist, they have no control or power over the person getting hypnotised. The person is quite aware of what is happening during the session and after it. Also, hypnosis is shown to prove the primary symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is important to remember that hypnotherapy should not be considered the all in all mode of treatment. 

In addition, it is very important for people that a healthy diet and exercise is followed. It is true that hypnotherapy can be quite costly for a short period of time and is time-consuming. 

Mindfulness Based Therapy

Mindfulness-based practices promote being present in the moment. It encourages one to accept one’s thoughts, feelings and experiences. It teaches one to notice the surroundings. Mindfulness tells us to observe our surroundings with acceptance. These practices can help one accept the physical symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. At first, you will be learning the skills through the sessions. Later on, you can apply it in your daily life. It helps to practice these skills at your house. In fact, this can help you become better at it. After a time these skills will become habits. These skills will help you to reduce the anxiety and stress caused by the symptoms of the condition. 

Hence, over time you will notice that you are able to feel emotions are respond to them in a better way. The level of acceptance and presence of mind can reduce anxiety. When you are less anxious, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms also reduce. Hence, this improves the quality of living in the long run.

Thus, these are the Brief Psychotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

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Chapter 3:
Important Note

It is very important that you consult a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. If untreated it can lead to other serious conditions. It can be hard to go through this condition alone. But, don’t worry worry, you can get mental health support. All you need to do is to reach out for help. Getting help from a mental professional can help you cope with the condition. With the proper medications, therapy and a healthy lifestyle, you can soon start to feel better. You can begin to feel more comfortable in your own body. At Espychonline we have a series of self-help courses including ”Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome” that can help you deal with your symptoms in a healthy way. Please visit our Courses page to find more about it.

Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based scientific ways of coping with chronic fatigue

99 Lessons

3 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount