Inability to Express or Process Emotions Also Prevalent in MS Patients, Study Reports


A significant number of multiple sclerosis patients show signs not only of depression and anxiety, but also of alexithymia — an inability to describe or process emotional responses, a research group in Brazil reported.

The study, “High levels of alexithymia in patients with multiple sclerosis,” published in the journal Dementia & Neuropsychologia, also found that MS patients with depression or anxiety were more likely to show signs of alexithymia.

Psychological difficulties are known to accompany multiple sclerosis, a disease of the nervous system with symptoms that affect both motor and cognitive skills. Depression and anxiety are well-studied psychological ills of MS and known to affect health-related quality of life. Alexithymia — a psychological condition characterized by a marked difficulty in identifying, describing, and expressing emotions — is lesser, although estimated to be prevalent in 10% to 53% of the MS population.