Mind Over Gut: Reviewing the Role of Psychological Intervention in Acid Reflux Management

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Johnny-Wei Bai


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, GERD, psychological intervention, mental health, adjunct


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a prevalent and burdensome condition, with potential serious consequences such as esophagitis and esophageal cancer. Current therapies include lifestyle change, anti-reflux medications, and surgical treatment. Though existing treatments are often sufficient, many patients still suffer from intractable symptoms and are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Furthermore, patients with mental health co-morbidities can experience more severe GERD symptoms. The bi-directional influence between GERD and mental health warrants the exploration of psychological interventions in reflux management. Though there is a paucity of large, high-quality trials, the current literature does show promise for psychological adjuncts to existing therapies. Further studies with well-described interventions are needed to design and implement effective psychological therapies in the treatment of GERD.