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By ianfielder, Aug 15 2018 11:17AM

Hypnotherapy helps fight IBS symptoms. These are the findings of a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden which proposes implementing this treatment method into the care of severe sufferers of this common disease.

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an very common stomach disease that manifests as abdominal pain and discomfort, disturbed bowel movements, abdominal swelling and bloating. Recent studies indicate that 10-15 percent of all Swedes suffer from IBS to varying degrees.

Yet researchers still do not know what causes the condition and no effective treatment is available for those suffering from most severe symptoms.

Studies at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, show that psychological treatment using hypnosis may offer effective, lasting relief. The studies are part of a thesis which concludes that hypnotherapy should be used in clinical care of patients with severe IBS. "We have four different studies showing that hypnotherapy helps treat IBS, even when the treatment is not provided by highly specialized hypnotherapy centres. The treatment improves gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life, and patient satisfaction is very high. The method also makes efficient use of health care resources," says Perjohan Lindfors, doctoral student at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

Source: University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Published in National Hypnotherapy Society August 2018 Newsletter.

By ianfielder, Jul 11 2018 02:30PM

Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

After participating in a single, 15-minute session of one of these mind-body therapies, patients re

ported an immediate decrease in pain levels similar to what one might expect from an opioid painkiller. This study is the first to compare the effects of mindfulness and hypnosis on acute pain in the hospital setting.

The yearlong study's 244 participants were patients at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City who reported experiencing unmanageable pain as the result of illness, disease or surgical procedures. Willing patients were randomly assigned to receive a brief, scripted session in one of three interventions: mindfulness, hypnotic suggestion or pain coping education. Hospital social workers who completed basic training in each scripted method provided the interventions to patients.

While all three types of intervention reduced patients' anxiety and increased their feelings of relaxation, patients who participated in the hypnotic suggestion intervention experienced a 29 percent reduction in pain, and patients who participated in the mindfulness intervention experienced a 23 percent reduction in pain. By comparison, those who participated in the pain coping intervention experienced a 9 percent reduction. Patients receiving the two mind-body therapies also reported a significant decrease in their perceived need for opioid medication. "About a third of the study participants receiving one of the two mind-body therapies achieved close to a 30 percent reduction in pain intensity," said Eric Garland, lead author of the study and director of the U's Centre on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development. "This clinically significant level of pain relief is roughly equivalent to the pain relief produced by 5 milligrams of oxycodone."

Garland's previous research has indicated that multi-week mindfulness training programs can be an effective way to reduce chronic pain symptoms and decrease prescription opioid misuse. This new study added a novel dimension to Garland's work by revealing the promise of brief mind-body therapies for people suffering from acute pain. "It was really exciting and quite amazing to see such dramatic results from a single mind-body session," said Garland. "Given our nation's current opioid epidemic, the implications of this study are potentially huge. These brief mind-body therapies could be cost-effectively and feasibly integrated into standard medical care as useful adjuncts to pain management."

Garland and his interdisciplinary research team aim to continue studying mind-body therapies as non-opioid means of alleviating pain by conducting a national replication study in a sample of thousands of patients in multiple hospitals around the country.

By ianfielder, Jun 4 2018 04:39PM

There’s no use beating up on yourself after the fact. Just because you’ve slipped up during your recovery from drug and alcohol addiction does not mean that all of your efforts have been for nought. So what now? It’s time to regroup, examine why you’ve slipped and take the necessary efforts to get back on track. After all, having made so much progress, you’re not going back to your old lifestyle. Start with these moves.

Forgive Yourself

This is necessary to free you from the bitterness and anger that could be disastrous to your physical health and hold you back in anything positive that you are trying to achieve, according to an article in Psychology Today. They add that forgiving ourselves is often even more difficult than forgiving other people.

For one thing, you need to unpack any limiting beliefs or negative emotions that you’ve attached to your slip-up, otherwise your forgiveness will seem insincere to yourself. In order to do that, you’ll have to let go of the past and recognize you are not perfect and everybody makes mistakes. Re-reading positive affirmations is one way over this hurdle.

Talk to Loved Ones

Your friends and family can help you cope, and you need all the emotional support you can get as you’re in the throes of a serious mental illness. Besides, relationships are the very foundation of mental health, says an MSN expert, and your well-being will only be harmed by isolation whereas a kind word and understanding can do wonders in boosting your self-esteem and empowerment.

Remember to choose wisely when you open up. It must be someone who you feel comfortable with and who you trust. This will make it easier to be absolutely honest about your situation, which is vital to effective communication. The process can be cathartic as it releases a lot of the tension that you’ve been feeling since the relapse. You’ll also gain the benefit of perspective from someone who can look at the problem from the outside.

Adjust Sobriety Strategy

This means that you have to re-examine where you go, what you do and who you spend time with as all of these can provoke future relapse. Though most of these tips are related to the holidays, they actually work year-round. You’ll notice how important it is to avoid old friends from the days when you partied too much or people that cause you stress.

About that last word. The reason for your relapse may have been jumping back to work too quickly or taking on more than you can handle in other aspects of your life. If that’s the case, then it may be time to step back and enjoy a little peace and quiet. This could mean a weekend to yourself to visit the sea or a session of mindful meditation.

Sweat it Out

A jog in the park or swim at the pool may help you return to form. Besides the buzz you get from the rush of endorphins, adrenaline and dopamine, you’ll feel a sense of achievement by continuing to strive toward your fitness goals. Working all that tension out of your body also makes you more relaxed and stabilizes your sleeping patterns, putting you in a better mental state from which to move further on your recovery plan.

Do not forget to match the exercise with healthy eating, which will also give you a much-needed mood boost. According to a doctor writing in Mind Body Green, a nutritious diet relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety by reducing inflammation and increasing production of hormones like serotonin.

Seek Professional Help

There are therapists who deal with this problem for a living and they can provide coping strategies as you struggle to regain sobriety. You’ll also find support groups in the real world as well as online in addition to helplines specifically for people in your position. Don’t hesitate to use these resources rather than fall into old habits of crippling depression and self-doubt.

Whatever you do, remember that you are not alone in the fight to stay sober, so keep moving forward.

Image via Pixabay.

Original piece by Constance Ray

By ianfielder, Jun 4 2018 01:14PM

We all know that getting enough sleep is one of the key ingredients for good health. Now, a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research has found that having a lie-in on the weekend could counter the life-limiting effect of under-sleeping during the week.

Researchers found that those who were getting under five hours of sleep each night had a 65% higher mortality rate than those who were getting six or seven hours of sleep. But the study revealed that there was no increased risk of death for those who slept five hours or fewer during the week, when they managed eight or more hours on the weekend.

So, next time you find yourself having a lazy Sunday lie-in, there’s no need to feel guilty; you’re simply having what Torbjörn Åkerstedt – author of the study at Stockholm University – calls a “catch-up sleep”, and it could be the key to living a longer, healthier life.

By ianfielder, May 15 2018 07:55AM

Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have for the first time found direct causal links between the neurotransmitter dopamine and avoidance -- behaviour related to pain and fear.

Researchers have long known that dopamine plays a key role in driving behaviour related to pleasurable goals, such as food, sex and social interaction. In general, increasing dopamine boosts the drive toward these stimuli. But dopamine's role in allowing organisms to avoid negative events has remained mysterious.

The new study establishes for the first time that dopamine is central in causing behaviour related to the avoidance of specific threats. The work was published today in the journal Current Biology.

"This study really advances what we know about how dopamine affects aversively motivated behaviours," said Joseph F. Cheer PhD, a professor in the UMSOM Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology and the study's corresponding author. "In the past, we thought of dopamine as a neurotransmitter involved in actions associated with the pursuit of rewards. With this new information we can delve into how dopamine affects so many more kinds of motivated behaviour."

To better understand the role that dopamine plays in this process, Dr. Cheer and his colleagues, including principal author Jennifer Wenzel, PhD, a fellow in Dr. Cheer's laboratory, studied rats, focusing on a particular brain area, the nucleus accumbens. This brain region plays a crucial role in linking the need or desire for a given reward -- food, sex, etc. -- with the motor response to actually obtain that reward. To study the animals under natural conditions, they used optogenetics, a relatively new technique in which specific groups of neurons can be controlled by exposure to light. In this case, Dr. Cheer's group used a blue laser to stimulate genetically modified rats whose dopamine neurons could be controlled to send out more or less dopamine. In this way, they were able to see how dopamine levels affected the animals' behaviour. The principal advantage of this approach: he could control dopamine levels even as the animals moved freely in their environment.

The researchers subjected the animals to small electric shocks, but also taught the animals how to escape the shocks by pressing a small lever. Using optogenetics, they controlled the amount of dopamine released by neurons in the nucleus accumbens. Animals with high levels of dopamine in this brain region learned to avoid a shock more quickly and more often than animals that had a lower level of dopamine in this region. Dr. Cheer says that this indicates that dopamine causally drives animals to avoid unpleasant or painful situations and stimuli. The results greatly expand the role that dopamine plays in driving behaviour.

The researchers also examined the role that endocannabinoids play in this process. Endocannabinoids, brain chemicals that resemble the active ingredients in marijuana, play key roles in many brain processes. Here, Dr. Cheer and his colleagues found that endocannabinoids essentially open the gate that allows the dopamine neurons to fire. When the researchers reduced the level of endocannabinoids, the animals were much less likely to move to avoid shocks. Dr. Cheer argues that the research sheds light on brain disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. In depression, patients feel unable to avoid a sense of helplessness in the face of problems, and tend to ruminate rather than act to improve their situation. In PTSD, patients are unable to avoid an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety in the face of seemingly low-stress situations. Both disorders, he says, may involve abnormally low levels of dopamine, and may be seen on some level as a failure of the avoidance system.

In both depression and PTSD, doctors already sometimes treat patients with medicine to increase dopamine and there are now clinical trials testing use of endocannabinoid drugs to treat these conditions. Dr. Cheer suggests that this approach may need to be used more often, and should certainly be studied in more detail.

Article copied from National Hypnotherapy May newsletter

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