Instruction in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) may be a useful addition to therapies for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), according to the results of new research conducted at St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. The study “…provides support for the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a tailored mindfulness-based group intervention for patients with IBD," according to lead author David Castle, MD, noting improvements in both mental health and quality of life in study subjects receiving a tailored MBSR program. But additional research is needed to determine if these interventions can also reduce IBD symptoms and forestall relapses. The study is reported November 2 in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Previous studies have suggested benefits accrue from MBSR for patients with other physical illnesses, but there is limited evidence on mindfulness-based interventions for patients with IBD. Anxiety, depression, and decreased quality of life are common in patients with IBD conditions including Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Psychological distress may lead to increased IBD symptoms and play a role in triggering disease flare-ups. This study followed 60 adult patients with IBD conditions lasting an average of 11 years. One-half completed a program in MBSR, and one-half did not. After 6 months the MBSR cohort reported significant reduction in depression and improvement in quality of life, with a trend toward reduced anxiety. The authors note limitations in their study and conclude that "A larger adequately powered, randomised study with an active control arm is warranted to evaluate the effectiveness of a mindfulness group program for patients with IBD in a definitive manner."
Read more about the research findings, with link to the journal article, here.
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