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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
One common problem that I find in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) patients is that something major has happened in their lives that have been rather unbalancing. For instance, the adult daughter of a 73 year old retired female civil servant suddenly becomes bipolar and needs substantial care even to the point of wearing diapers. Shortly thereafter the mother, who becomes her primary caregiver develops IBS. Note that these destabilizing events are also present in the case histories for fibro sufferers. So, it is no surprise that many patients are diagnosed both with fibro and IBS.
There is no known cause for either fibro or IBS. Both are also not considered to be preventable. While there is a strong correlation with the imbalance aspect, whether that is a cause is only a hypothesis at this time.
When working with an IBS (or fibro) patient, it is important initially to help them develop the conviction that they can be a factor in their healing. This is normally referred to as self-empowerment. There are a series of exercises that I use to allow the patient to begin realizing their ability to alter the subjective experiences. This gives them more faith that they can be at cause in their lives. The process starts out with self-empowerment and increasingly works on other integration issues.
Psychologists should always consider how smoothly a person integrates new events. This is called personality integration. Failure to do so is normally associated with a myriad of mental and physical problems – to include IBS and fibro. If a person cannot cope with and integrate new desired or unwanted experiences, then they are more prone to these types of disorders. Psychologists have a number of personality disorder diagnoses with which they label such person.
When someone comes into my office displaying personality integration problems, I can almost predict that they will also discuss psychosomatic disorders as well. For instance, this happened with a lady who recently saw me about kicking her smoking. She was a manager at a local industrial plant and held an MBA degree. Even while filling out the initial intake forms, which my receptionist had given her, she was extremely defensive and untrusting. This was so severe that I had to get involved with answering her questions. Later when we were alone in my office and I started taking notes, she continued expressing paranoia as she was watching me write. She only calmed down when I explained that note taking helped my memory and that I would be very willing to show her everything that I wrote. She then calmed down. The session went very well. When she left, she acted as if she was my new best friend. By the way, within 30 minutes of the session, I asked her how long she had been suffering from fibro. She was shocked that I had detected it without her volunteering any information. Fibro patients tend to have extreme trust issues. They overtly act this out by showing suspicions of others. However, the biggest problem is that they don’t trust themselves. Once I get them to do this through the self-empowerment techniques, their entire attitude changes thus opening the door for substantial healing.
Another issue that you may be interested in is why women suffer from IBS (and fibro) more than men. Daniel Amen, MD, a Newport Beach, CA, psychiatrist who has scanned over 40,000 brains, once told me that women have a larger limbic system, a larger right frontal lobe, and more connections between the right and left hemispheres of their brain. This logically supports nesting and nurturing urges and more developed intuition abilities. However, it also makes them more prone to psychosomatic disorders to include how mental disturbances will affect menstrual cycles. So, the gender differences are both a blessing and a curse.
Keywords: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, mental health, fibromyalgia, FMS, IBS, hypnotherapy, hypnosis, psychotherapy
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