Scand J Gastroenterol. 2012 Apr;47(4):414-20. doi: 10.3109/00365521.2012.658858. Epub  2012 Feb 20.

Long-term effects of hypnotherapy in patients with refractory irritable bowel syndrome.

Lindfors PUnge PNyhlin HLjótsson BBjörnsson ESAbrahamsson HSimrén M.

 

research introduction

This article reported the findings of a retrospective Swedish survey of 208 IBS patients who completed a course of hypnosis hypnosis treatment. The Subjective Assessment Questionnaire was used to measure changes in IBS symptoms, and patients were classified as either treatment responders and non-responders based on their scores. Patients also reported changes in health-care use, use of medications for IBS symptoms, use of other non-pharmacological treatments, and whether they still actively used hypnosis. Immediately after hypnotherapy 49% of patients were responders, and 73% of these had improved further when they were surveyed at follow-up 2-7 years after hypnotherapy. The majority of the patients reported that they still used hypnotherapy on a regular basis at follow-up. Patients whose symptoms had shown good response to hypnosis used healthcare services less after treatment compared to non-responders.

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: 

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is considered to be an effective treatment in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but few studies report the long-term effects. This retrospective study aims to evaluate the long-term perceived efficacy of gut-directed hypnotherapy given outside highly specialized hypnotherapy centers.

METHODS: 

208 patients, who all had received gut-directed hypnotherapy, were retrospectively evaluated. The Subjective Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) was used to measure changes in IBS symptoms, and patients were classified as responders and non-responders. Patientswere also asked to report changes in health-care seeking, use of drugs for IBS symptoms, use of alternative non-pharmacological treatments, and if they still actively used hypnotherapy.

RESULTS: 

Immediately after hypnotherapy, 103 of 208 patients (49%) were responders and 75 of these (73%) had improved further at the follow-up 2-7 years after hypnotherapy (mean 4 years). A majority of the responders still used hypnotherapy on a regular basis at follow-up (73%), and the responders reported a greater reduction in health-care seeking than non-responders. A total of 87% of all patients reported that they considered gut-directed hypnotherapy to be worthwhile, and this differed between responders and non-responders (100% vs. 74%; p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: 

This long-term follow-up study indicates that gut-directed hypnotherapy in refractory IBS is an effective treatment option with long-lasting effects, also when given outside highly specialized hypnotherapy centers. Apart from the clinical benefits, the reduction in health-care utilization has the potential to reduce the health-care costs.
 

Link to full paper with PMID: 22339617