1Sondes Bader, 1Imen Ketata, 1Fatma Sghaier, 1Emna Ellouz

1Neurology Department, Gabes Hospital, Gabes, Tunisia


Mood disorders, are frequent in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Although anxiety has a well-recognized negative influence on family, work and social life, it has received less attention than depression in MS patients.The aim of our study was to assess anxiety in multiple sclerosis patients and to explore its associated factors

Material(s) and Method(s):

We conducted a cross-sectional study, carried out on patients with MS who consult in the neurology department in Gabes’s hospital during a period of five months, from the 1st June 2021 to 25th October 2021.We used a pre-established sheet exploring the socio-demographic, clinical and therapeutic data of the patients.The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to diagnose anxiety.The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) to quantify disability in MS patients.The Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) to detect cognitive impairment.Data were analyzed using the software SPSS (20th edition).


Nineteen patients were included. Eleven (57,9%) were females, mean age: 31,5 (SD=8,06) years. Fifty tow percent were married.Only two patients(10,5%)had a family history of MS.Four patients(21,1%) had a family psychiatric history.Five patients (26,3%) had a psychiatric history before MS onset.Two patients(10,5%)had a history of suicidal attempt before MS onset, the prevalence of anxiety was 57,9% according to STAI score. Median STAI-trait score was 43.5 (30, 49) andSTAI-state was 48,7 (32-67). This represents moderate trait and state anxiety.Median SDMT score was 29 (18-41). was a significant association between anxiety and hallucination symptom (p=0,37;Fisher test) and between anxiety andsubcortical white matter lesion (p=0,07:Fisher test;OR=2,7[1,2-6]). No differences were observed regarding sex, marital and occupational status, education, family history of psychiatric disorders, disease course,disability according to the EDSS and cognitive impairement according to SDMT.


The prevalence of anxiety in our MS population was significantly high.Anxiety was associated with psychotic symptoms such hallucination and subcortical white matter lesion.Early identification of anxiety appear to be crucial for mitigating the impact of anxiety in this population.