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Vol. 146. Issue 3.
Pages 108-111 (February 2016)
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Vol. 146. Issue 3.
Pages 108-111 (February 2016)
Original article
DOI: 10.1016/j.medcle.2015.09.003
Multiple chemical sensitivity: Clinical evaluation of the severity and psychopathological profile
Sensibilidad química múltiple: evaluación clínica de la gravedad y perfil psicopatológico
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Eva Lago Blancoa,
Corresponding author
eva.lago@ssib.es

Corresponding author.
, Jordi Puiguriguer Ferrandob, Mónica Rodríguez Enríqueza, Laura Agüero Gentoa, Joan Salvà Collc, Maria Rosa Pizà Portella
a Sección de Psicología Clínica, Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Son Espases, Mallorca, Spain
b Sección de Toxicología, Servicio de Urgencias, Hospital Universitario Son Espases, Mallorca, Spain
c Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Son Espases, Mallorca, Spain
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Tables (3)
Table 1. Criteria for the stratification of severity in patients diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity, based on the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory questionnaire and the impact on their lifestyle habits.
Table 2. Main comorbidities, lifestyle and food and drug intolerances of patients with multiple chemical sensitivity (n=73).
Table 3. Stratification of patients with multiple chemical sensitivity who agreed to complete the study, depending on the degree of involvement according to the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory, related to the other results of the psychological tests analysed (n=43).
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Abstract
Introduction and objective

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a multisystem disorder of controversial aetiology, affecting some subjects when exposed to chemicals at no harmful concentrations. The objective of this paper is to describe the epidemiological, clinical and psychological features of a sample of patients with MCS for further specific group treatment.

Patients and method

Descriptive study of patients diagnosed with MCS in a toxicology unit. We administered the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory, the structured interview SCID-II, the anxiety scale HAS and the type A personality test, PCTA.

Results

Seventy-three patients were included. The mean age was 52.6 years (range 33–77; SD 9.29). Sixty-six were females (90.4%). Fifty-three percent were classified as III and II grade. Sixty-one patients (83%) presented some type of comorbidity, mainly chronic pain, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. They exhibited higher levels of anxiety (average score of 19.2), prevalence of phobic-avoidant traits of personality and type A behaviour in 31.1%.

Conclusions

MCS affects middle-aged women with comorbidities (chronic pain, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue) and high anxiety and avoidance behaviours. This preliminary analysis should help provide a specific therapeutic approach to these patients.

Keywords:
Multiple chemical sensitivity
Psychological profile
Personality traits
Resumen
Introducción y objetivo

La sensibilidad química múltiple (SQM) es un trastorno multisistémico de etiología controvertida que afecta a algunos sujetos al exponerse a productos químicos a concentraciones no perjudiciales. El objetivo de este trabajo es describir las características epidemiológicas, clínicas y psicológicas de una muestra de pacientes con SQM, para un posterior tratamiento grupal específico.

Pacientes y método

Estudio descriptivo de los pacientes diagnosticados de SQM en una unidad de toxicología, mediante la administración del cuestionario Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory, junto con la entrevista estructurada SCID-II, la escala de ansiedad HAS y el test de personalidad tipo A, PCTA.

Resultados

Se incluyeron 73 pacientes, con una edad media de 52,6 años (rango 33-77; DE 9,29), siendo 66 mujeres (90,4%). El 53% estaban clasificados como grado i-ii y ii. Sesenta y un pacientes (83%) presentaron algún tipo de comorbilidad, fundamentalmente dolor crónico, fibromialgia y fatiga crónica, con niveles de ansiedad mayores (puntuación media 19,2), predominio de rasgos de personalidad fóbico-evitativo y patrón de conducta tipo A (31,1%).

Conclusiones

La SQM afecta principalmente a mujeres de mediana edad, con comorbilidades (dolor crónico, fibromialgia y fatiga crónica), elevada ansiedad y conductas de evitación. Este análisis previo debería ayudar a ofrecer un abordaje psicoterapéutico específico a estos pacientes.

Palabras clave:
Sensibilidad química múltiple
Perfil psicológico
Rasgos de personalidad

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