Vol. 12 nº 2 - Apr/May/Jun de 2018
Original Article Páginas: 212 a 215

High levels of alexithymia in patients with multiple sclerosis

Authors Audred Cristina Biondo Eboni1; Mariana Cardoso2; Felipe Moreira Dias3; Paulo Diniz da Gama4; Sidney Gomes5; Marcus Vinicius Magno Goncalves1; Suzana Costa Nunes Machado6; Adaucto Wanderley da Nobrega Jr6; Monica Fiuza Konke Parolin7; Sonia Castedo Paz2; Heloisa Helena Ruocco8; Claudio Scorcine2; Fabio Siquineli9; Caroline Vieira Spessotto2; Carlos Bernardo Tauil3; Yara Dadalti Fragoso2


keywords: multiple sclerosis, alexithymia, depression, anxiety, psychology.

Alexithymia is a personality trait characterized by difficulties identifying and describing feelings. Some researchers describe high levels of alexithymia among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) but literature data on this subject are scarce.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present study was to characterize findings of alexithymia in patients with MS.
METHODS: This cross-sectional case-control study included 180 patients with MS and a matched control group. Data for patients with MS included disease duration, number of demyelinating relapses and degree of neurological disability, as assessed by the Expanded Disability Scale Score (EDSS). In addition, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scale and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) were used.
RESULTS: There were 126 women and 54 men in each group, with median age of 37 years and median education of 16 years. Patients with MS had higher degrees of depression (p<0.01), anxiety (p=0.01) and alexithymia (p<0.01) than did control subjects. For individuals with MS, depressive traits (p<0.01), anxious traits (p=0.03), higher age (p=0.02), lower education level (p=0.02), higher degree of disability (p<0.01) and not being actively employed (p=0.03) were associated with higher rates of alexithymia.
CONCLUSION: Alexithymia was a relevant finding in patients with MS.


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