Comparing the effectiveness of music therapy and alpha-theta neuro-feedback training on anxiety and depression among patients with chronic irritable bowel syndrome

Seyed Hamzeh Hosseini, Iradj Maleki, Samaneh Farnia, Shahideh Kazemi-Malekmahmoudi

DOI: 10.22122/cdj.v0i0.286


BACKGROUND: Non-pharmaceutical interventions are a promising area of research in psychiatry. Traditional treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) lacked notable efficacy. The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of music therapy (MT) and alpha-theta neurofeedback training (NFT) on anxiety and depression symptoms among patients with IBS.

METHODS: Patients with IBS, based on ROME III criteria, and high level of anxiety or depression symptoms were randomly assigned into three groups: (A) music, (B) alpha-theta training, and (C) control. In intervention groups, participants received ten 30-minute sessions of either music or alpha-theta NFT. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was administered for all patients before and after the training period. Thirty-three patients completed the study. Data were analyzed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to compare changes in HADS scores among the three study groups.

RESULTS: There was a significant main effect of HADS scores (F1,18 = 17.79, P < 0.001) in the responses of MT group. Significant decreases were observed in HADS scores from pre-intervention to post-intervention tests in MT group comparing to control group. The MT accounted for 49 percent of variance in HADS scores. There was also a significant main effect of HADS scores (F1,20 = 17.79, P < 0.010) in the responses of NFT group. HADS scores from pre-intervention to post-intervention tests in alpha-theta NFT group comparing to control group showed significant decreases, too. In addition, MT and alpha-theta NFT did not show any significant difference in somatic symptoms scores between pretest and posttest among patients with IBS.

CONCLUSION: This study showed that MT and alpha-theta NFT significantly alleviated anxiety and depression level among patients with IBS.


Anxiety; Depression; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Music Therapy; Neurofeedback; EEG Feedback; Brainwave Feedback

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