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Mindfulness + Exposure Tx = Improved IBS Symptoms

13 Sep

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden conducted a study of a group therapy program that combined exposure therapy with mindfulness meditation, for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Out of 49 outpatients, most of whom were referred from gastroenterological clinics, 34 entered into the 10-week treatment program.  Patients were assessed before, immediately after and then 6 months post-treatment. 

The assessments consisted of a gastrointestinal symptom diary, self-report questionnaires that covered quality of life, gastrointestinal specific anxiety, general functioning, and a psychiatric interview. 

At post-treatment, the mean reduction in symptoms was 41%, with 50% of patients showing clinically significant improvement in symptom levels.  Patients also showed marked improvement on other outcome measures. Treatment gains were maintained at follow-up. The results support the use of exposure and mindfulness based strategies in the treatment of IBS, but further randomized studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of the treatment. 

Citation:  Ljótsson B, Andréewitch S, Hedman E, Rück C, Andersson G, Lindefors N.  Exposure and mindfulness based therapy for irritable bowel syndrome--an open pilot study. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 2010 Sep;41 (3):185-90. Epub 2010 Jan 7. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.