Psychotherapy in somatic diseases--for example gastrointestinal disorders

Moser, G.

Psychiatria Danubina 19(4): 327-331


ISSN/ISBN: 0353-5053
PMID: 18000484
Document Number: 14438
The functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) are the most frequent clinical conditions seen in practice. Up to 60% of these patients is also suffering from psychosocial problems. Therefore it is important to define the patient's complaints in terms of a biopsychosocial disorder, to acknowledge the relevance of the psychosocial aspects and to provide an integrated psychosomatic treatment or a psychotherapy if indicated. Most of the research on psychotherapy in FGID to date has focused on the irritable bowel syndrome and different methods of treatments were studied (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy, dynamic psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and relaxation). Randomised controlled studies have shown that psychotherapy is superior to conventional medical therapy. Hypnotherapy is successful not only for irritable bowel syndrome but also for functional dyspepsia. Predictors of a positive response to psychological treatment generally are: (1) awareness that stress exacerbates their bowel symptoms, (2) at least mild anxiety or depression, (3) the predominant bowel symptom is abdominal pain or diarrhea and not constipation, (4) the abdominal pain waxes and wanes in response to eating, defecation, or stress rather than being constant pain, and 5) the symptoms are of relatively short duration. Benefits persist over years, and in the long run, clinic visits and health care costs can be reduced.

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Psychotherapy in somatic diseases--for example gastrointestinal disorders