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Alexithymia in multiple sclerosis

Journal of Neurology & Stroke
NG Starynets, GA Starynets

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Background: An independent psychological construct like alexithymia is the least studied in multiple sclerosis (MS). The objective of this study was to determine the level of alexithymia in patients with MS and the degree of influence on it of different social and demographic characteristics of patients, including gender, age, place of residence, marital status, level of education, clinical parameters of the disease, depression and anxiety.

Materials and methods:88 hospital patients with varying degrees of severity and type of MS were examined, according to the McDonald criteria, 2010. The following scales were used to assess the signs of depression, anxiety and alexithymia: the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-26).

Results:The prevalence of alexithymia in patients with MS was 36.36%, while 34.09% represented the "marginal" group. A statistically significant positive correlation between alexithymia and depression and anxiety in patients with MS was established. High levels of alexithymia were detected with a high degree of depression on the BDI scale. None of the above socio-demographic and clinical variables influenced statistically significantly the presence of alexithymia.

Conclusion: Alexithymia can be a key psychological factor that impedes the true emotional integration of disease-related changes.


multiple sclerosis, alexithymia, depression, anxiety