Alexithymia in patients with hepatitis c: Relationship to depressive like symptoms

Neil K. Rustgi, Cassie Yu, Michael J. Sheridan, Thomas N. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Hepatitis C (HCV) is often associated with symptoms of depressed mood, fatigue, sleep difficulties, impaired concentration and diminished quality of life. This study investigates the association of alexithymia with such symptoms and the burden of illness in HCV. Method: Subjects were patients treated for HCV in a private outpatient gastroenterology practice. Those with HIV/AIDS were excluded. 83 patients completed the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI); a visual analogue scale for magnitude of depressed mood; the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 scale (TAS); and the Illness Effects Questionnaire (IEQ) Viral load was assessed by HCV-RNA levels. Results: The group endorsed a generally mild to minimal distress levels due to HCV. 27% were considered clinically depressed. Alexithymic subjects had greater viral loads and endorsed significantly greater IEQ levels even when depression was controlled. Alexithymic patients reported greater depressed mood, more fatigue, and more sleep difficulties than those not alexithymic. Via logistic regression, alexithymic traits significantly predicted subjects whose depression level via BSI was one standard deviation above community norms. Conclusions: Alexithymic traits may augment the cluster of symptoms often considered within the depressive like syndrome found in HCV patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Neuropsychiatry
Volume7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Affective symptoms
  • Alexithymia
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Hepatitis c

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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