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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 267-275

Comparison of cognition and alexithymia in patients of schizophrenia with and without comorbid alcohol use: A cross-sectional exploratory study

1 Department of Psychiatry, NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. D Abhijeet Faye
Department of Psychiatry (OPD-10), 2nd Floor, OPD Building, NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Digdoh Hills, Hingna Road, Nagpur - 440 019, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_155_21

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Background: Cognitive impairment and alexithymia are commonly associated with schizophrenia and alcohol use disorder independently. Both can lead to poor prognosis and recovery. In patients with dual diagnosis, this association can be more prevalent and severe. Materials and Methods: A total of 75 participants were grouped into two (35 each): Group A, a Schizophrenia group and Group B with comorbid alcohol use. Sociodemographic factors, clinical profile, cognitive functions, and alexithymia were compared between the two groups using semi-structured pro forma, Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) Scale, Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) (subcategorized into three subscales (1) “Difficulty describing feelings” (DDF), (2) “Difficulty identifying feeling” (DIF), and (3) “Externally-Oriented Thinking” and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale. Statistical analysis was performed using the Chi-square tests and t-tests as applicable. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The mean age of the participants was 33.61 (standard deviation [SD]-8.11), mean duration of schizophrenia was 70.8 months (SD-47.5) and mean duration of alcohol consumption was 9.10 years (SD-7.7). MoCA score was significantly lower (mean-21.80, SD-2.98) and TAS total score was significantly higher in Group B (Mean-67.31, SD-8.10). DDF (Mean-19.28, SD-4.02) and DIF scores (Mean-22.86, SD-4.66) were significantly higher in alcohol group compared to nonalcohol group. Furthermore, MoCA score was significantly impaired and TAS total, DDF and DIF scores were significantly higher in participants with AUDIT score >8 (P < 0.05). Lower score on MoCA correlated with the higher score of alexithymia. Conclusion: Cognitive dysfunction and alexithymia were significantly more in patients of schizophrenia with comorbid alcohol use and positively correlated with the severity of alcohol use disorder.

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