Stress management

Epub: van der Hiele et al. Daily hassles reported by Dutch multiple sclerosis patients. J Neurol Sci. 2012 Jul 14.

Background: There is growing evidence for the association between stress and relapse risk in MS. The current study focuses on daily hassles, which by their chronic and accumulating nature can cause considerable psychosocial stress. 

Aim: The main aim was to investigate the frequency, associated distress and type of daily hassles encountered by Dutch MSers from a large community-based sample. They further examined factors associated with high levels of psychosocial stress. 

Methods: Questionnaires concerning demographics, disease characteristics, physical functioning, daily hassles, fatigue, depression and anxiety were completed by 718 MSers. Three MSers younger than 18 were excluded, resulting in 715 MSers. 

Results: Compared with published norm data, more than 50% of the participants reported a high number of daily hassles (57.5%) and high levels of associated distress (55.7%). Frequently mentioned daily hassles concern personal functioning and social developments. A logistic regression model revealed that being female, being younger, having a higher educational level, using benzodiazepines*, exhibiting more symptoms of anxiety, and a higher physical impact of fatigue were all independently associated with high levels of psychosocial stress. 

*benzodiazepines are a group of drugs that can be prescribed as sedatives, anxiolytics, hypnotics, anti-convulsants or anti-spastic medications. The most well known in the class is diazepam. MSologists probably use clonazepam the most as an add-on drug to help with the control of spasticity. 

Conclusion: These findings may alert clinicians of the high prevalence and impact of daily hassles in MS and underline the need to incorporate stress and anxiety management strategies in (psycho)therapeutic interventions. 

"This study is self-explanatory. Do the results strike a cord with you?"

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