Social Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Are Common Among Persons With Multiple Sclerosis at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh

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Cureus. 2021 Feb 28;13(2):e13619. doi: 10.7759/cureus.13619.


Background Multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with a physical disability and disturbed psychosocial functioning in young people. Many psychological and psychiatric comorbidities have been reported in MS. Objective To determine the frequency of social anxiety disorder (SAD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) among MS patients and their relation to MS severity. Methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted in an adult MS cohort. Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) and Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN) were used to determine the presence and severity of OCD and SAD. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY) was used for statistical analysis. The Mann-Whitney U test and logistic regression were used to assess the association of the two diseases with the severity of MS. Results A total of 145 persons with MS (pwMS) were studied. The mean age was 33.5 (±8.5) years; the mean duration of MS was 7.2 (± 5.1) years. The majority (74.1%) were women; 57.3% were married; 63% had a college education; 50% belonged to the higher middle-class socioeconomic strata. Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis was the most common type of MS (92.2%). The mean Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score was 2.24 (±2.19). SAD was reported by 26.9%, and OCD was reported by 31% of the cohort. PwMS with walking difficulty but not wheelchair-bound had a statistically significant increased risk of SAD (p = 0.036). There was no direct association between MS-related disability and OCD. However, pwMS with SAD were more likely to have concomitant OCD (t=4.68, p-value 0.001, 95% CI: 0.47-1.16). Increasing disability was associated with higher chances of developing social anxiety and, in turn, OCD (t=3.39, p-value 0.001, 95% CI: 0.66-2.52). Conclusions Social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders were present in nearly one-third of pwMS. Impaired walking but not wheelchair dependence was associated with social anxiety. PwMS with SAD were more likely to have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

PMID:33816018 | PMC:PMC8010157 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.13619