Objectives To assess psychological characteristics of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods 30 patients were included (3 male, 27 female, mean age 56.8 years) with proven diagnosis of RA (according to the 1987 revised ACR criteria). A low disease activity according to DAS 28 score was reported in 6 patients, moderate – in 11 patients and high activity – in 13 patients.
Clinical observation, conversation, testing and case history revision were used.
Following psychological techniques were used: “Stress intensity” questionnaire, Teylor’s questionnaire, Eydemiller’s “typical family state” methodic, Lüscher color test, “hand” test by Wagner, and author’s questionnaire.
Results 27% of patients had high level of family anxiety, 67% had mental stress, 83% - high emotional trouble. Vast majority of patients has high level of personal and situational anxiety. Patients with RA try not to react to conflicts, to restrain their emotions, to suppress aggression. Patients’ mental state before and after the onset of the disease, according to the patient’s opinion, have significant differences. Before the onset of the disease 70% of patients considered themselves as sociable, after the onset – only 3%, one third of them identify themselves as closed, one fifth – vulnerable. A correlation was detected between activity of RA and the level of family anxiety, family dissatisfaction, mental stress, the intensity of stress, emotional distress, general anxiety (p>0.01).
Conclusions Patients with RA were characterized by specific psychological features, including high level of anxiety, emotional trouble, which can be both consequences of RA and provocative factor of RA progression. According to study results, complex medical and psychological aid should be provided to patients with RA, and such methods as individual and group psychotherapy, autogenic therapy, psychological and physiological relaxation can be introduced.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared