Hypnosis shows promise as adjunct therapy in paediatric Crohn’s disease
Clinical hypnosis is an acceptable, feasible, and promising complementary therapy in adolescents with Crohn’s disease (CD), according to data presented at Crohn’s and Colitis 2020.
The abdominal pain, psychological comorbidities, and reduced quality of life (QoL) associated with CD may persist even in remission, said the researchers.
Given the potential of clinical hypnosis in irritable bowel syndrome, researchers sought to evaluate its influence on QoL, abdominal pain, psychosocial measures, and disease activity in 40 adolescents (mean age 15.8 years, 50 percent female) who were diagnosed with CD >3 months prior. The participants were randomized to the hypnosis (intervention) or control groups. Participants in the intervention arm received one in-person hypnosis session and education on self-hypnosis. Assessments were done at 8 (post-intervention) and 16 weeks. [Crohn’s and Colitis 2020, abstract P039]
At 8 weeks, score reductions in the physical (-1.53; p=0.13), emotional (-1.29; p=0.05), social (-1.47; p=0.01), and school subdomains (-2.82; p=0.004) of the parent-reported health-related QoL were observed, generating a significantly reduced total score signifying improvement in QoL (-7.12, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], -12.2 to -3.24; p=0.006). No significant changes were noted in the control arm (total score, 0.86; p=0.9).
Significant changes were also observed in terms of school absences (p=0.03) and the emotion-focused coping efficacy subdomain of the Pain Beliefs Questionnaire short form (p=0.04). Maximum abdominal pain intensity was also significantly reduced at week 8 in the intervention arm compared with the control arm (-1.35, 95 percent CI, -2.47 to -0.59; p=0.01 vs 0.3, 95 percent CI, -0.7 to 1.65; p=1).
Half of the participants in the intervention arm reported using self-hypnosis at least 3–4 times a week and appeared to have greater QoL improvements than those who practiced self-hypnosis less. “[Moreover, despite unchanged] corresponding measures … participants described improvement in stress, anxiety, and sleep,” said the researchers.
“Adolescents with CD have pain, reduced QoL, and psychological impairment despite inactive disease,” said the researchers. The current findings underscore the capacity of hypnosis to generate improvements in QoL, abdominal pain, coping efficacy, and school attendance, they said, adding that they are awaiting the 16-week outcomes.
The researchers called for further trials with longer follow up, objective disease activity assessment, and measures to improve compliance to validate the effects of hypnosis in this setting.