Brandi: Dr. Szigethy, I have a young son who has been diagnosed with Crohn's in 2015 and there’s a lot of questions for me. As an athlete, I use the technique of guided imagery to help me get ready for a performance or maybe a tough spell. How can individuals with inflammatory bowel disease use the same technique in their everyday life?
Dr. Szigethy: First, with a chronic inflammatory condition like inflammatory bowel disease or IBD, it's important that you find a gastroenterologist and work with that doctor to have a treatment plan. Then, these kinds of techniques that enhance emotional wellness can be very helpful in refocusing the mind, resetting the mind. So you mentioned guided imagery. Guided imagery is really using our imagination, so our imagination by itself. Thinking of a memory that made us happy or made us laugh, or we can use tools. We can use tools like looking at a photograph to help us remember a happy time. We can listen to relaxing music. Or we can go ahead and turn to an activity that we really enjoy as another way: now you're actually becoming active and refocusing the mind at the same time.
Brandi: What I like about what you said is that it, it takes a team. You know, in this situation for me as a mother, we – my, my family does have a gastroenterologist so we can go to him with questions that we have if we don't know the answers. You know, friends who are informed about what we're doing, and then they could help us in moments where maybe, you know, my son's not having his best day but they can be understanding.
Dr. Szigethy: You know, and the other part of the game plan that is so critical is certainly using your own network, social network that you have, but then there are other resources out there both for the information and the social connection. One such resource is the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, and they have online resources that are wonderful, they have social support groups.
Having a game plan is important. People living with IBD can explore this website for additional tips and tools.