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Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2003 Jun;32(2):477-506.

Psychosocial aspects of functional gastrointestinal disorders.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Hospital, 5777 East Mayo Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85054, USA.


Psychosocial factors, such as stress, abuse history, psychiatric disturbance, coping style, and learned illness behaviors, play an important role in functional GI disorders in terms of symptom experience and clinical outcome. These psychosocial factors are influenced by and influence GI symptoms in a bidirectional manner as mediated through the brain-gut axis (CNS and ENS pathways). Entering the patient encounter using a biopsychosocial approach and a care (versus cure) style can help avoid excessive diagnostic testing, and elicit crucial information about potential abuse history or psychiatric symptoms that can help guide therapy. Finally, for patients with severe, refractory symptoms, multicomponent treatment involving psychologic therapy, such as CBT, relaxation, or hypnotherapy, can be beneficial.

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