MS or multiple sclerosis is a disease of the brain and the central nervous system, which is very disabling in nature.

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Is Multiple Sclerosis A Mental Illness?

Before multiple sclerosis is diagnosed, people may experience several mental health problems. This may be due to anxiety caused by waiting for diagnosis, or due to inability to accept the diagnosis. Along with this, performing everyday tasks while combating flare ups can be equally challenging and quite depressing. It may result in a low mood.

People having relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis are more prone to anxiety. This is because they do not know how their condition is going to progress over time. The fear of the unknown can trigger various emotional disturbances in people suffering from multiple sclerosis. Depression is seen usually in those people who are in later stages of MS and experiencing more serious symptoms and disabilities

Multiple sclerosis is not a mental illness, but it may bring a host of mental symptoms and disorders with its diagnosis. Also, multiple sclerosis presents with symptoms like fatigue. Fatigue is also linked to severe depression and anxiety.

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Every person suffering from multiple sclerosis responds differently to the disease and the way he wants to deal with the disease. The persons dealing with MS face a lot of mental problems as well as physical problems. But very few people pay attention to it, as they feel it is more important to give attention to the physical problems. However, it is equally important to deal with mental symptoms as well, because these problems are equally painful and debilitating. Also, they make physical problems seem even more difficult and interfere with healing and coping as well. Mental problems may also affect relationships, communication skills, impact the productivity at work and may even create suicidal tendencies in people.

It is seen that people with multiple sclerosis have more suicidal tendencies when compared to other people. People with MS could do better if their mental problems are diagnosed and addressed at an earlier stage, instead of being neglected. Mental problems of people with multiple sclerosis are quite neglected because doctors do not ask about it routinely and patients fail to mention it as well. People may not even recognize that they are suffering from a mental problem. They may not know that their problems are associated with multiple sclerosis. They may even be embarrassed to bring this topic up in front of others. Even worse than this is the fact that they come to accept this mental state as a part of their life with a difficult illness.

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The depression may occur any time during the illness and is caused due to some changes in brain, immunity system and problems faced while dealing with multiple sclerosis in routine life.

Many signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis also overlap with signs and symptoms of mental problems like depression. Hence, it is essential to get yourself evaluated by a mental health professional to make a confirm diagnosis of your condition.

Along with depression, people may feel grief as well as other feelings as the disease runs its course.

Those that give a support to multiple sclerosis affected people are also at a risk of developing depressive symptoms, because of going through a constant unpredictability and changes in priorities and plans of life. They need care and attention as well.

Though depression may seem daunting and overwhelming, it is one of those symptoms of MS which is quite treatable, with a proper approach and an efficient and quick treatment. Mental illness in MS deserves equal attention as any physical illness in the condition. The proper line of treatment for both, multiple sclerosis and mental illnesses associated with it, should be started under careful guidance of your doctor and a mental health specialist.

Multiple sclerosis is not a mental illness, but it can bring a host of mental illnesses with it, once it is diagnosed, and sometimes even before that.

References-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2706287/

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/blog/depression-one-most-common-symptoms-multiple-sclerosis

https://thefemedic.com/mental-health/ms-affect-mental-health/

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: April 3, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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