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New psychological intervention program shows promise in helping those with bowel diseases
Date:6/9/2010

Athens, Ga. Disease is a private matter to many of us. For many reasons, we want to keep it to ourselves, and no cluster of disorders challenges patients' need for privacy more than inflammatory bowel disease.

Teenagers with IBD, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, often have serious trouble coping with the disorders. But a new cognitive-behavioral, skills-based treatment intervention program developed and tested by psychologists at the University of Georgia shows promise of reducing physical symptoms and increasing adaptive coping strategies. It could help bring some relief to the hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. alone who often suffer in silence.

The latest study on the effectiveness of the coping skills intervention involved 24 female teenagers age 11-17a population that especially struggles with the intimate and sometimes embarrassing nature of IBD.

"We saw significant improvements in these adolescents' physical symptoms and coping strategies following treatment," said Ronald Blount, professor of clinical psychology at UGA and an author of the study. "Parents, who were also involved in the study, reported reductions in catastrophic thoughts related to their daughters' pain and improved behavioral reactions related to their daughters' physical symptoms. We aimed to teach parents to become coaches for their daughters to help them better manage their symptoms."

The research was just published online in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Co-authors were Megan McCormick and Bonney Reed-Knight, both psychology doctoral students at UGA, and Drs. Jeffrey Lewis and Benjamin Gold of the Children's Center for Digestive Health Care in Atlanta. The department of psychology at UGA is part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

IBD is unpredictable and can cause severe suffering for those diagnosed with the disease. With symptoms such as abdominal pain, frequent diarrhea, delayed
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Contact: Ronald Blount
rblount@uga.edu
706-542-1173
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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