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What Patients Are Saying About Gut Feelings

"Now more than ever it is important for patients to advocate for themselves and for doctors to be more understanding, empathetic and validating of their patients' needs. Gut Feelings is an important book for both patients and practitioners alike. As one of Dr. Drossman's patients, and a psychotherapist who specializes in working with survivors of trauma, I found Gut Feelings to be highly informative and easy to read and to understand. 

I didn't realize until reading Gut Feelings the extent to which trauma, infections, parental behavior, and coping skills play a role in developing issues in the gut. I personally have struggled for years to find a diagnosis for my stomach pain and have observed my own patients struggle with similar difficulties. Gut Feelings provides easy to understand explanations for these frequent, yet commonly misunderstood, conditions. Gut Feelings provides practical knowledge and useful insights in a manner which is very easy to digest. "

Katherine Wald, LCSW
Licensed Psychotherapist
Certified EMDR Therapist
(786) 479-1863
"Gut Feelings is a must read for any medical or psychology student working in direct patient care. Dr. Drossman provides a cohesive and intelligible explanation of Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI) that is currently lacking for students, doctors, and patients. Not only does he provide the historical and scientific information necessary to understand each diagnosis, but he gives an in-depth look at the ways in which a doctor should be coming to the diagnostic conclusion. Ms. Ruddy does an amazing job of delivering the patient perspective and the complex navigation of the medical system. Additionally, Ms. Ruddy provides an enlightening perspective as a patient for those who may not have been exposed to the difficulties of stigma, significant impacts on physical and mental health, and disillusion with the healthcare system that often come with chronic illness. 

Dr. Drossman and Ms. Ruddy have created a valuable tool for all readers navigating the healthcare system, in particular gastroenterology and psychiatry, that will be useful for all in the years to come. As a chronic illness patient, I wish I would have had this guide at the beginning of my journey!” 

Lesley Isaacs
As a patient who has suffered with a DGBI for several months, I found this book to be quite informative, reassuring, and enjoyable. Reading the content from both the doctor's and the patient's perspectives provided great insight to how these diseases are studied and understood. I found it very comforting to be armed with the knowledge of what my diagnosis is, how it can be treated, and a patient's perspective of healing. When navigating through today's healthcare system with a largely misunderstood disease, it is easy to become discouraged and feel isolated. Dr. Drossman's approach to communication with his patients is refreshing and aids in every step of the healing process. I would highly recommend this book to patients with DGBIs, but also to their loved ones who could gain a deeper understanding of these diseases through this book. Thank you Dr. Drossman and Ms. Ruddy!

Katie Cantrell

This is the book I wish I had read many years ago, when I first began to experience my abdominal pain. As a patient, this is very helpful in seeing things from a Doctor's perspective and also seeing what you can do to help take an active part of your care. The discussions on the Doctor-Patient Relationship are also useful for interacting with your care team. This book also shows that there is hope for you out there. You can find a good team to help manage your symptoms and improve your life. 

Jackie Meese
Gut Feelings is an incredible resource for physicians and patients who are faced with undiagnosed Disorders of Brain Gut Interaction (DGBI). It can be extremely frustrating for all involved when patients present with gastrointestinal and potential concurrent neurological symptoms without an apparent structural cause. Many physicians are not familiar with the Rome Criteria and often patients are dismissed when physicians are unaware of a course of action. Gut Feelings provides the framework to empower patients to self-advocate and ask pertinent questions, allowing them to actively participate in their action of care.

In most ways, I would consider myself extremely fortunate. I have a medical background. I had access to medical care deemed to be the very best and I saw physicians who had the resources and desire to do all they could to help. However, the knowledge and tools to do so were simply absent. At the age of 33, I began to experience numbness in the face and extremities, severe headaches, temperature dysregulation, dizziness and brain fog. No one linked any of these symptoms with the two Clostridium Difficile infections I had six months prior. Looking back, I now know that I downplayed my concomitant GI symptoms. I wanted to focus on the neurological symptoms that were the most outwardly debilitating as I feared those could affect my ability to care for family and perform my job. Grasping at straws, the doctors ordered expensive and unnecessary neurological testing which have resulted in lasting negative effects. Somehow, I knew that extensive neurological testing was not the direction to take. However, like the doctors, I yearned for a structural deficit to explain my symptoms. When the testing failed to yield the answers we craved, I was forced to accept my “new normal” and do my best to manage my symptoms.

Only after my GI symptoms became severe did I seek out a GI physician. After being honest with some friends and colleagues about my symptoms, it was suggested that I make an appointment with Dr. Drossman. After a one-hour visit, I left with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. I was given a dozen peer reviewed research articles relevant to my illness. Most importantly, I was reminded that my recovery would be journey, but that it would be one we would travel together. 

Although more physicians are learning about DGBIs and how best to treat patients with these illnesses, many patients will not have the opportunity to see a physician well versed in this growing field. Within Gut Feelings, Dr. Drossman provides a detailed scientific background and explanation for each DGBI as well as potential treatments for each. This book also describes methods to achieve an ideal patient-doctor relationship, thereby improving communication skills, patient education and mutual respect. In this safe environment, the patient is more likely to share their entire story, thus giving important clues which may lead to an accurate diagnosis, improving both doctor and patient satisfaction. This book is certain to resonate with and provide valuable guidance for both patients and doctors contending with DGBIs.

Jennifer Robbins, MS

Gut Feelings is a must read for any doctor in the field of gastroenterology. It is also a must read for any patient experiencing unresolved, seemingly misdiagnosed GI issues. It is widely known that a doctor’s mission is to provide excellent medical care and improve the lives of patients. Education is oftentimes the answer when doctors reach a roadblock. For a decade, I was failed by the medical community because the science of gastrointestinal dysfunction was unknown.

When I arrived at Drossman Care in 2017, I was stuck in a vicious cycle with no way out. An accurate diagnosis coupled with Rome Foundation Research paved the way for healing. My treatment included Pharmacology + CBT + Doctor’s Care + Time. Neuromodulators were necessary to regulate signals to the brain. Equally, if not more important, CBT helped me identify and change behaviors that were hurtful and an impedance to healing. Calm the brain, calm the gut! I wasn’t crazy, but my A-type, overachieving  personality needed a total OVERHAUL. Today, my life is vastly improved, better balanced and even restful. I am thankful that the biopsychosocial model not only saved my life, but gave me a much better quality of life to enjoy!

I, and my family, are forever indebted and grateful to Dr. Drossman and the Rome Foundation for the magnitude of research done in the field of DGBI’s. Through the care and guidance of Dr. Drossman, I am thrilled to say, I HAVE MY LIFE BACK and I AM PAIN FREE. My first visit with Dr. Drossman set the stage for success. His methods of communication set me at ease and conveyed a sense of care and concern. He educated me with diagrams and even gave me several journal articles which I happily read. I trusted Dr. Drossman– perhaps the most critical step– because without trust, there is no viable treatment plan.

This book provides a wealth of information, backed with decades of research and patient success. Dr. Drossman translates complex and often misunderstood digestive disorders that ultimately help doctors and patients understand one another. Gut Feelings begins with a brief history of medicine to help the reader understand the limitations of Cartesian dualism. More importantly, Dr. Drossman highlights the relevance of the biopsychosocial model, which cannot be overlooked, considering the hard-wired Gut-Brain interaction.

Digestive disorders are very real, but the treatment is NOT a one size fits all. Gut Feelings categorizes a magnitude of symptoms, coupled with proven interview techniques which allow for proper diagnosis. This methodology is proven and for me personally, it was the answer to wellness I had been seeking for a decade. Finally, a book that validates the patient, explains the gut illness AND gives hope for wellness and healing!

Karen Salem

I have recently had the pleasure of reading Gut Feelings: Disorders of the Gut Brain Interaction and the Patient Doctor Relationship. In this book, Dr. Drossman explains the different disorders of gut brain interaction (DGBI) and provides case studies, one of which has been generously shared in detail by the author Johannah Ruddy, who gives the patient perspective of treatment. Her story and explanations feel genuinely empowering for someone with this diagnosis.

I am not a psychologist, but in my humble experience, as someone living with IBS, a healthcare practitioner and charity worker in the field of gastroenterology, there is great power in a good patient doctor relationship. I have heard a lot of people report on how their diagnosis was given over the years, and sadly it still is often given poorly. This is certainly not done in malice by any means but is perhaps rooted in misunderstanding about the patient’s concerns. The choice of words used really matters.

This books premise is to teach about the patient doctor relationship and explain about the gut brain interaction so that three things can happen. First, the doctor can give a confident diagnosis (the book explains all the different DGBI’s in detail) – explain the biopsychosocial model of symptoms and the brain gut interaction – then both work in partnership in addressing concerns and trying treatments. How easy is that? This book shows you how. For patients with IBS, this book can be a little complex in some of the medical descriptions and terms, however I encourage all patients to learn as much as you can about your diagnosis from credible sources. This book is a good place to start.”

Julie Thompson- Patient and GI Nonprofit Information Manager
Guts UK
Every now and then a book changes the way we understand Patient-Doctor relationships. Gut Feelings is one of those books. Douglas Drossman MD and Johannah Ruddy MEd skillfully describe how the Patient-Doctor Relationship is a two-way street. Doctors learn that there is recognition of a patient’s thoughts and feelings and patient’s find that their thoughts and feelings are validated. Instead of doctors being influenced by dualism, they are in sync and connected with patients in a way that defines a solid healing process for Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI). If you are looking for a book that you can identify with your digestive health and are looking for a better way to communicate with your doctor, this is one worth considering.

Jeffrey Roberts, MS, MEd
Patient and Patient Advocate
Founder, IBS Patient Group
Co-Founder, Tuesday Night IBS on Twitter
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