Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease are chronic conditions that can have periods of remission. Research suggests that stress is one of strongest predictors of disease activity, such that therapy might be a helpful adjunct in managing your condition; you should be aware that research on the effectiveness of therapy on managing symptoms is emerging at this time and we work as partners with medical interventions. If your doctor has recommended that you see a psychologist, it does not mean that she or he thinks that your condition is all in your head; rather psychological treatment can target factors that might make your symptoms worse. Symptoms of IBS can lead to increased depression and anxiety, and depression and anxiety can also make IBS worse.

What to expect from treatment for IBS/IBD

Treatment will focus on trying to support you in managing the impacts of your condition so that you can live the fullest life possible around it. This might mean discovering and modifying unhelpful safety behaviours or “boom/bust” cycles of activity that often accompany these conditions. We also work to identify and target factors that may increase your vulnerability to flare ups, while at the same time acknowledging and accepting that only so much is within your control. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, and/or stress, we will target these with strategies such as mindfulness, relaxation, and problem-solving. Treatment is informed by the UCL Centre for Outcome Research and Effectiveness competence framework for IBS.