I picked this thread up accidentally - I am on Avonex, but it is essentially the same drug as Rebif, just a different mode of delivery (IM inject rather than SC inject).
I can only offer my own experience and that is to say that I think that there is a link between MS and anxiety. My Neuro says that it is chemical, and caused by the 'cascading' of the immune system and it's consequent impact on the CNS. My Neuro-Psych (who is a Professor) also says that sub-cortical white matter lesions have an inpact not only on how the brain functions, but on how emotions are experienced too.
There are warnings on my Avonex packaging regarding depression!
So, the problem is three-fold:
- ms can contribute to anxiety and depression, chemically
- being diagnosed with a crappy disease like ms can make anyone anxious and depressed
- interferons can contribute to emotional issues like depression.
Prior to being diagnosed with ms, I thought that there was something wrong with my heart - tight band around my chest, 'palpatations', and anxiety - no doc really tested my heart (I was only in my early thirties, so no-one took it seriously), they just thought I was a fruitcake, and offered me counselling! I think Bob's (Lyon) wife also had some kind of scare with heart issues prior to diagnosis of ms - he can tell you more about that.
So I am now on Cipralex for depression (!), take an occasional Lexotan for muscle spasms and anxiety, have a programme going with my Neuro-Psych, and am learning to live with it. I believe in a multi-disciplinary approach - meds (if indicated), counselling, support from your medical team, family and friends, and lots of enjoyment in life - learn to ignore stress and avoid negative people, do things that make you happy, introspection is good in context, but too much dwelling on what might happen can drive you crazy and it is a slippery slope into self-pity (understandable but not productive) - and getting in touch with others who really do know what it is like to have ms (through a support group, or a site like this)...This gives you information and helps you stop thinking that no-one understands and taking all that anger out on important people in your life.
I have rambled on a bit - sorry for that (I tend to do it ALL the time), but I truly hope that your friend comes to grips with this - he is fortunate to have someone who cares for his well-being as you do.