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Addressing the psychological impacts of GI conditions to improve quality of life.

Visceral Inflammation and Pain (VIP) Center at UPMC

There is a strong connection between the brain and the gut. Stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain can exacerbate or even cause symptoms of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses.

The Visceral Inflammation and Pain (VIP) Center at UPMC offers a state-of-the-art approach to treating the psychological impact that often accompanies GI diseases.

We integrate comprehensive GI care with innovative behavioral health services, such as:

  • Stress management and relaxation techniques
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Non-opiate pain management strategies
  • Hypnosis and meditation
  • Psychiatric medications
  • Skill teaching groups
  • Educational programs for teens transitioning to adulthood

All patients being treated within UPMC’s Digestive Disorders Center have access to VIP Center care.

Why Come to the VIP Center for GI Care?

Here’s what makes the VIP Center at UPMC such an important component of our overall GI care plan:

  • Our ultimate goal is to improve quality of life for those with digestive disorders. For some people, chronic pain may inhibit their involvement in daily activities, or they may avoid certain settings for fear of experiencing symptoms. Such isolation can contribute to anxiety and depression. With new coping skills, they may restore their quality of life.
  • We evaluate all aspects of a patient’s mental and emotional health, including past histories of anxiety and depression, sleep habits, pain levels, and quality of life. This helps us design a treatment plan that’s individualized to each patient's unique condition.
  • The VIP Center provides a caring place and a critical support network for those struggling to cope with their disease. Unlike many other illnesses, GI diseases can be difficult to discuss with friends and family, and connecting with sources of support can be challenging.
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