How can I decrease anxiety related to IBS?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I have suffered from IBS for years. I know it’s aggravated by stress and anxiety but I don’t know what I can do to rid myself of the anxiety. I work with a psychologist to get to the bottom of the anxiety but in the meantime I physically suffer from it. To make matters worse, once the anxiety has started and panic has begun to set in the IBS not only gets worse but causes more anxiety. Are there anxiety reducing treatments out there or medication that only affects the nervous system in the gut that would be helpful to me.

A. I am not sure what medications would work for you since that is highly dependent on what you can tolerate. Those medication decisions are best determined by you and your doctor. You might want to research and explore treatments that are non-medication related such as hypnosis. If you know that stress and anxiety agitate your IBS, it would be helpful if you found stress reliving activities that can do on a daily basis. This can be exercise, yoga, watching a movie, taking a long walk, riding a horse; whatever you can do to relax and take care of yourself. Focus on self care and stress relief. Finding a stress relieving activity that can help hold you over until you and your psychologist find the correct treatment for you.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2007

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2007). How can I decrease anxiety related to IBS?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/04/30/how-can-i-decrease-anxiety-related-to-ibs/