Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Psychological Perspective of Interaction and Therapeutic Implications

  • T. Kamolz


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be traced back to disorders of the gastroesophageal junction. But several psychological factors and psychiatric disorders interact through recognized psychophysiologic or behavioural mechanisms to affect the clinical presentation and treatment outcome. Even if many aspects are still unknown, the following is conceivable: that well defined personality factors moderate the effect of stress on the gastroesophageal junction, just as they can influence the perception and assessment of symptoms. Additionally, psychiatric disorders as comorbidities can also accompany GERD. For this reason, it is necessary to consider if an extension of hitherto psychological interventions could be helpful in patients with a subjective link between reflux and stress on an emotional personality related level, or in patients with attendant psychiatric disorders. This broadening relates both to the conservative use of antireflux medication and to surgical therapy, since a postoperative shift in symptoms can occur. The effectiveness of psychological interventions in several gastrointestinal patient groups could already be shown in the past. Whereas evidence for their effectiveness in patients suffering with GERD is partly still outstanding and should be investigated in the future especially as several individual promising starts have been made.


Lower Esophageal Sphincter Panic Disorder Gastric Acid Secretion GERD Patient Epidemiologic Catchment Area 
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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Kamolz
    • 1
  1. 1.Public Hospital of Zell am SeeZell am SeeAustria

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