Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Prostatitis
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach to treating chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). This approach can help you address pelvic pain that is connected to emotions, stress, anxiety, or other psychological problems.
About half of the men with CP/CPPS have pain due to tension in the pelvic floor, and this pelvic floor tension can be triggered by anxiety or other psychological stressors. For some men, the stress of dealing with a long-term chronic condition like CP/CPPS makes them vulnerable to depression, stress, and anxiety. Some men begin to feel hopeless or start thinking catastrophically. These situations are why cognitive behavioral therapy for prostatitis is useful.
Several studies have found that prostatitis is unusually common in men with a history of psychological conditions, especially anxiety disorders and panic disorder. Researchers in Taiwan compared the health records for men with CP/CPPS with records for randomly chosen men. The men who had CP/CPPS were twice as likely to have a previous diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. The results of this study show that men with CP/CPPS have higher rates of anxiety than men who do not have CP/CPPS.
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps change maladaptive, or harmful, thinking. Therapists or computer-based programs use techniques to help patients break negative patterns and beliefs and replace them with more realistic and effective thoughts. This can help decrease emotional stress and self-defeating behaviors, which can worsen pelvic tension and prostatitis symptoms, such as pain.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help you change your maladaptive coping skills, emotions, habits, and behaviors into more positive and healthier ways to think and cope.
There are six phases of cognitive behavioral therapy:
- Reconceptualization (the cognitive portion)
- Skills acquisition
- Skills consolidation and application training
- Generalization and maintenance
- Post-treatment assessment follow-up
There are several different ways to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy, but they all have similarities. Different techniques include relaxation, biofeedback, minimizing negative or self-defeating thoughts, setting goals, changing maladaptive beliefs about pain, and giving self instructions (imagery, distraction, or motivational self talk). Cognitive behavioral therapy can be done individually or in a group setting.
A typical program may have you meeting with a therapist 6 to 18 times for an hour each time every 1 to 3 weeks. You may have homework assignments. There are also programs that are computerized, which can be helpful and less expensive or more convenient than meeting with a therapist.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been found effective for treating anxiety disorders and certain kinds of chronic pain. It has also been shown to help patients who suffer depression and anxiety due to chronic pain disorders.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Other Treatments
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one part of a whole-body approach to treating prostatitis, because many chronic prostatitis causes stem from problems that take place outside of the prostate and elsewhere in the body. Common causes of pelvic tension include stress and emotional health problems, pelvic floor disorders, chronic tension disorders, and inflammation from other places in the body. Immune disorders and allergies (such as food intolerances) also play a role in CP/CPPS, and that is why a well-rounded whole-body approach to diagnosing and treating prostatitis can help patients to reduce inflammation.
Combining cognitive behavioral therapy with a multimodal approach that incorporates several natural and alternative treatments works best for treating CP/CPPS. A treatment program that includes acupuncture, pelvic rehabilitation and therapy, trigger point release, phytotherapy (quercetin and pollen extract), stress management, dietary changes (depending on your symptoms), and even exercises that relax you like yoga and tai chi will help you to best combat the physical and emotional problems that may be causing your prostatitis symptoms. Stay positive and patient with your progress, and that positive thinking will help you heal faster.