The medical management of patients with irritable bowel syndrome is often unsatisfactory. Doctors are still taught that irritable bowel syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion, and patients readily sense that they are being told that nothing is really wrong with them. Many people soon come to appreciate that the range of medical treatments available is limited in both scope and efficacy. The mood of negativity, once established, is difficult to dispel.The BBC report on this article has one of the authors, Dr. Ian Forgas, saying
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome should be made aware of the existence of these treatments so that they can make informed choices.Nick Read, with whom I appeared at the Ilkley Literacy Festival, is quoted there:
Specifically, they should be made aware that using a psychological treatment does not mean that the disease is 'all in the mind'.
There's now a lot of evidence that psychological therapies can be effective, but a lot of doctors remain sceptical, and carry on treating with drugs which have side-effects, and which basically don't work.The BMJ report also quotes Hippocrates:
I work with patients with IBS trying to understand what, for each patient, lies behind the illness.
It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.Imagine taking that seriously!