Case–control study of anxiety symptoms in hemifacial spasm



In a case–control study, we evaluated symptoms in nine different psychological domains in hemifacial spasm (HFS; using the Symptom Checklist-90R [SCL-90R]) and found the anxiety score to be significantly greater in HFS compared to healthy controls in both the univariate (P = 0.004) and multivariate analysis (adjusted for sex, age, marital status, and educational level; P = 0.002). Similar findings were obtained when comparison was made with an independent group of outpatient controls. Compared to outpatient controls, the HFS patients had a higher mean Hamilton Anxiety Rating Score (HAM-A; 10.0 ± 8.0 [range, 0 to 28] vs. 5.0 ± 5.0 [range, 0 to 25]; P = 0.004), and 19.5% had HAM-A score of 18 or above compared to 3.8% in controls (P = 0.02). Among the HFS patients, the mean anxiety score in SCL-90R was significantly higher in those defined with mild to severe anxiety under HAM-A compared to those without anxiety (74.0 ± 6.0 vs. 48.0 ± 13.0) (P < 0.0005). There was good correlation of the anxiety score with the HAM-A in HFS patients (r = 0.915; P < 0.0001). HFS patients with anxiety reported significant improvement of their symptoms (mean HAM-A score 19.0 ± 5.0 vs. 11.0 ± 6.0; P = 0.001) following appropriate management. As stress and anxiety can aggravate HFS, diagnosis and early management of anxiety symptoms can improve quality of life in these patients. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society