Irritable Bowel Syndrome Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Written by: Shruthi Chacko – M.Sc (Psychology)
Do you always need to use the bathroom when you are at a party? Do you find it hard to eat the things you like? Are you feeling embarrassed when you always need to go to the bathroom in a social setting? Are long flights hard to deal with? These situations can very common for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These can be very stressful situations to deal with. The food at the flight or the party can cause flare-ups such as diarrhoea or gas. In fact, just anticipating these symptoms causes stress and anxiety. This stress makes the IBS symptoms worse than before. But, don’t worry, there are ways in which you can start feeling better. Did you know cbt is helpful for IBS? Read this article if you want to know how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help with your Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
What Is CBT?
- Get rid of myths of IBS. It is important to get educated about how the mind and body are connected to each other and reasons why behavior therapy works.
- You will learn about relaxation skills like deep breathing, this can have a soothing effect on your gut and help reduce the symptoms for some time. You can check out some apps online, for understanding and practising this skill.
- During the therapy, you will be able to reduce the negative thinking patterns than makes your symptoms worse.
CBT also focuses on educating you about stress. In respect to IBS, the therapist might teach you how anxiety and stress have an effect on your symptoms and your gut. Therefore, they may tell you a few stress management skills and techniques that can help you manage your stressful situations in a much healthier way.
Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Further, people having IBS often tend to avoid their symptoms in the initial stages. They find it difficult to go back to their daily lives even with dietary, medical and CBT interventions due to the continuous use of avoidance and the fear attached to it. In such a situation, CBT can help the person with exposure techniques to give them comfort to go about one’s daily activities.
Cognitive restructuring helps you to shift your attention, this can reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of living. Let’s take an example of it. A person is having cramps or their IBS symptoms start flaring up at a party. The therapist will help you to shift your focus thinking about the symptoms. Trying to find a distraction, convincing that these symptoms will not stay forever, it will pass.
Does CBT Help Everyone with IBS?
Hence, for treating IBS one should have an aim to take a holistic approach. This includes haven a healthy diet, using CBT, meditation, exercise and even physical therapy can help you.
Is CBT Effective for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
3 Tips to Reduce Stress When You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
I am sure this is not the first time that you are hearing that exercise is good for your health. You might be thinking, Ohh! exercising means sweating and getting all dirty. But, hey, if it helps your health and your Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it’s probably worth the sweat right? You don’t need to do any sort of intense exercise. You could meditate, go for a walk, go cycling or do something fun like Zumba. When you exercise your body produces endorphins, which means you feel stop feeling stressed and can start feeling happier. Hence, when you are less stressed, your IBS symptoms will reduce.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to reduce stress. When you start breathing deeply, it energises the parasympathetic system that helps you calm down. In fact, this reduces the sense of urgency and panic that you are experiencing. Hence, studies have shown that deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to lower the stress levels in an individual.
Food triggers can be different for every person suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is important to watch out for foods that trigger your stomach. If you are not sure what are the foods causing these triggers in you. There are some ingredients that you should consider avoiding or at least reducing from your diet. Items such as the following:
- Milk and other dairy products
- Fruits that are high in sugar (Fructose) such as Grapes, Berries, Kiwis, Bananas etc
- Avoid cruciferous vegetables such as Cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage
- Watch out for beans and legumes
Now, what can you include in your diet? Here are a few items that are good for you.
- Fruits such as Apples, Mangoes, Pears, Watermelon, Plums
- Vegetables such as Onions, Mushrooms, Lentils, Garlic, Asparagus
- Sweeteners such as Honey, Mannitol are good for you.
At Espychonline we have a series of self-help courses including the”Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome Course” that can help you deal with your IBS systems in a better way. Please visit our Courses page to find more about it. You may also find it informative to read up on ”Irritable Bowel Syndrome Specialist- Who Can Help! or “Best Irritable Bowel Syndrome Physical Exercise” to know more about Irritable Bowel Syndrome.