When you have Multiple Sclerosis
like fatigue, numbness, and weakness may be your main concern. But depression is a common symptom, too.
People with MS
are up to two or three times
more likely to become depressed than those without the condition. There are a few reasons why up to half
of people with MS
will experience depression at some point in their lives:
Nerve damage can affect the transmission of signals related to mood.Living with a chronic illness can cause stress and anxiety.Drugs like steroids and interferons that treat MS
can cause depression as a side effect.
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Often, depression is the one MS
symptom that’s overlooked and left untreated. Here are a few tips to help you care for your mental health while managing your MS
Everyone feels down from time to time. A brief shift in your mood doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed. But if you’ve continuously been sad for two weeks or longer, it’s time to take a closer look.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you always feel sad, hopeless, helpless, worthless, or empty?Are you more irritable than usual? Do you snap at the people around you?Have you lost interest in things you once loved to do? Does nothing you do seem to excite you?Do you feel extra tired or drained of energy?Do you have trouble sleeping, or sleep too much?Do you have difficulty concentrating or remembering?Do you notice strange aches and pains that you can’t connect to a physical cause?Have you noticed any changes in your appetite? Either eating too much or too little?
If you’ve had any of these symptoms
, call your doctor or a mental health professional for help.
2. Talk to your doctor
If you think you’re depressed, tell your primary care doctor. Just as with other conditions, there are medications and alternative therapies available to help you feel better. Also, inform the specialist who treats your MS
. It’s possible that a change in your MS
medication could be enough to improve your mood.
It’s also helpful to talk to a mental health expert like a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. They can offer strategies to help you cope better with the stresses of your condition. Ideally, find someone who has experience working with people who have chronic conditions like MS
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