Date Published: 27 April 2009
Help for people with chronic gut problems
Two new support groups for sufferers of the most common chronic gastrointestinal illnesses have been established at the Swinburne Psychology Clinic.
Sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease – two uncomfortable and often highly debilitating problems – often also experience increased psychological concerns such and anxiety and depression.
At Swinburne University the Brain-gut Bioclinical Research Unit, led by researcher and psychologist Dr Simon Knowles, has been developing and conducting individual and group-based psychological intervention programs to help individuals diagnosed with these chronic conditions.
“Rates of gastrointestinal problems in the community are high,” Knowles said. “Around one in 20 people will suffer from abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea.
Our preliminary research suggests that psychological intervention programs can improve physical symptoms and reduce common psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety.”
The research being conducted by the team is also helping to identify the biological mechanisms underpinning IBS.
Findings from the ongoing research will help better understand and improve gastrointestinal health.