Alcohol and substance use in multiple sclerosis

Meghan Beier, Vanessa D'Orio, Jessica Spat, Melissa Shuman, Frederick W. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background Few studies have examined the prevalence of alcohol and drug use in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The current study sought to examine the prevalence and associated demographic, disease-related, and psychological correlates of substance use in an East Coast United States outpatient MS sample. Methods 157 individuals with MS completed questionnaires prior to, during or after their visit with an MS neurologist. These questionnaires included: the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test - Consumption (AUDIT-C), CAGE, CAGE - Adapted to Include Drugs (CAGE-AID), Patient Health Questionnaire - 9 item (PHQ-9), Beck Depression Inventory - Second Edition (BDI-II) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale - Anxiety (HADS-A). Results On the AUDIT-C, 40% of individuals with MS met or exceeded the cutoff for excessive alcohol use. They were more highly educated and younger than non-drinkers. Utilizing the CAGE, 6% of the sample met criteria for a lifetime history of excessive alcohol use and men endorsed higher rates of alcohol use than women. Only a small portion of the sample endorsed a history of drug use (CAGE-AID, 4%). Drug use was associated with greater disability and depression symptoms, but lower self-reported anxiety. Conclusions Current alcohol use was prevalent in this sample, and excessive use was associated with men, younger age, and more education. Reported drug use was minimal and associated with greater disability, more self-reported depression, but fewer anxiety symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-127
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol use
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disability
  • Drug abuse
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Alcohol and substance use in multiple sclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this