Hypnotherapy may help ulcerative colitis patients socialize more

May 14th, 2009 - 1:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 14 (ANI): People with ulcerative colitis should no longer think twice before becoming a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, travelling with the boss or even going to parties in peoples’ homes, all thanks to a hypnotherapy.

Laurie Keefer, a clinical health psychologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, reckons that the therapy could certainly help boost the quality of life for patients with ulcerative colitis, a nasty gastrointestinal disease that flares without warning and makes it vital for patients to find a bathroom fast.

She says that some of her patients have started embracing activities they once avoided, after they took part in a research study, which tested if hypnotherapy could extend the time between their flare-ups.

Currently, the treatments for ulcerative colitis include a maintenance medication called 5-ASA, which should be taken as many as 12 per day that reduce the risk of flares but that many forget to take, as well as steroids or surgery to remove their colon.

Taking an early look at the data for the ongoing study, Keefer has found that treatment with hypnotherapy enabled some subjects’ to socialize more and get involved in activities such as eating at restaurants, exercising and road trips.

Some subjects feel less impaired by their disease, and are better at remembering to take their pills.

The study will be enrolling a total of 80 patients over three years, and will track the progress of each patient for one year.

To date, 27 subjects have enrolled in the study and completed the required eight weeks of hypnotherapy sessions, which also includes listening to special relaxation tapes up to five times per week.

Although it’s early, it has been found that only two of 12 subjects, who have participated in the study for a full year, have experienced a relapse, whereas based on their history, all 12 subjects would have been expected to have had two or more relapses within the year.

“These numbers are encouraging because the study specifically targets individuals who flare a couple times a year,” said Keefer.

Subjects are also expected to take their routine maintenance medication during the trial.

The trial was aimed to see if hypnotherapy can help subjects learn to manage their stress and develop a sense of control over their health.

In the experimental hypnosis sessions, Keefer has suggested the subjects to closely monitor their stress and be aware of how it’s affecting them.”Managing stress is really important for managing inflammatory bowel disease,” said Keefer.

She added: “There is quite a bit of data in a variety of diseases that shows people who have a higher sense of control over their health feel better and have fewer symptoms than people who don’t. This is a proactive approach. The preliminary results on the improved quality of life for the 27 subjects in this ongoing study (aiming for a total of 80 subjects) look positive so far.”

The findings were presented at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s 13th Annual Medical Symposium and 14th Annual Patient and Family Conference in Chicago. (ANI)

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