Multiple Sclerosis and Depression

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious condition that affects the central nervous system. Multiple sclerosis damages the nerve cells in the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord, leading to an interference in the transmission of signals within the central nervous system. Most people with multiple sclerosis experience depression as a symptom in addition to serious physiological issues.

An Overview of MS Symptoms

Each individual exhibits varied MS signs and symptoms as the condition impacts different parts of the central nervous system in differing severities. The most common MS symptoms are fatigue, balance and coordination issues, muscle pain, sensations of tingling and numbness, lightheadedness, visions problems such as blurry vision, cognitive problems, and mood changes.

How Are MS and Depression Connected?

Depression is a mood disorder that MS commonly brings on.  While there is a common misconception that depression just means feeling sad, individuals with depression suffer a host of powerful feelings such anxiety, stress, fear, despondency, guilt, and despair.

Multiple sclerosis impairs the exchange of nerve signals, and this can sometimes result in mood fluctuations. In some cases, depression may not be a direct symptom of MS but can be brought on from the taxing nature of the condition with a variety of difficult symptoms. Furthermore, some medicines in use to treat multiple sclerosis can also lead to depression as a side effect.

Symptoms of Depression

Mild depression is characterized by being filled with negative feelings and sadness only for a short amount of time, which typically does not persist for longer than a couple of days. Clinical depression, on the other hand, is much more extreme and long-lasting. It is essential to consult your physician as soon as possible if you suspect you may be suffering from depression.

The primary symptoms of depression include feeling despondent, hopeless, irritable, fatigued, anxious, stressed out, and unfocused.  Depression can also interfere with one’s sleep and have a negative impact on their appetite. It is particularly important to seek professional help if you exhibit suicidal thoughts.

Depression Treatment in MS Patients

Most people with multiple sclerosis who suffer from depression as a symptom either go on antidepressants or begin talk therapy, but the combination of both treatment methods is usually the most effective. It is also critical to have a strong emotional support system, people to whom you can voice your feelings. Having a healthy diet, stress management, and having family time also go a long way in managing the symptoms of depression. Joining an MS support group can also be very helpful in providing patients with a place where they talk to other individuals who understand each other’s struggles.

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Posted on May 22, 2023