Cognitive Therapy Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Symptoms reduced first, changes in quality of life and psychological distress follow
TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive behavior therapy works to reduce the overall symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which in turn helps reduce patients' psychological distress, according to study findings published in the August issue of Gastroenterology.
Jeffrey M. Lackner, Psy.D., of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and colleagues divided 147 irritable bowel syndrome patients into a cognitive behavior therapy group, a generalized psychoeducation group, or a wait list group (95, 28 and 24 patients, respectively). Subjects were 82 percent female and 93 percent European American. Median age was 50, with an average 17 years' duration of symptoms.
Results were obtained by applying structural equation modeling to the primary endpoint, patient estimation of global improvement of irritable bowel symptoms. The study found a statistically significant improvement in symptoms among the cognitive therapy group, which was in turn associated with a statistically significant improvement in the patients' quality of life. Results supported a bidirectional relationship between quality of life and psychological distress, but did not demonstrate a direct effect of cognitive therapy on distress.
"Ultimately, treatment outcome research for irritable bowel syndrome will greatly benefit from continued mechanistic studies of pharmacologic and psychological treatments," concludes an accompanying editorial by Jennifer S. Labus, Ph.D., of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles. "The fruits of this labor will be the ability to more efficiently target and prescribe the most useful treatment for a specific patient, resulting in improved patient outcome and overall satisfaction."