Counselling and psychological therapy have proven to be helpful in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because they elevate overall well-being. Many studies demonstrate an increase in negative moods in people suffering from gastrointestinal and pain conditions, such as IBS, but it is unknown whether the psychological factors influence IBS or if they are a result of dealing with disrupted life activities and frequent painful and distressing symptoms.
People with IBS may also experience anxiety specific to their gastrointestinal events or symptoms, for example, fear and anxiety around meals, or when experiencing abdominal pain or diarrhoea. This is called GI symptom-specific anxiety, and these patients can benefit from psychological treatment, including cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis.
Counselling or therapy is often used in combination with other treatment approaches for the management of IBS symptoms. Additional treatment options include dietary changes, adding fiber or probiotics to the diet, medications, and alternative or complementary medicine.