Despite the fact that depression is an unavoidable companion for those suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS), most are unaware of the startling connection between these two maladies.
Perhaps you’ve already taken note of how MS and depression can conjoin – it’s a potent combination! If you’re feeling down, don’t hesitate to seek out help from a professional; but be aware that depression may intensify any symptoms caused by your condition.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a common, yet often misunderstood psychological state. It can strike anyone at any time, causing them to feel gloomy and despondent.
Depression usually has three distinct phases: low moods; bouts of despair; and complete emotional numbness as well as diminished interest in anything pleasurable.
For those experiencing acute symptoms such as sadness or anxiety that persistently complicates life – it can be challenging to manage. For some people with severe depression, this may even lead to suicidal thoughts! Yet despite all this, maintaining an optimistic outlook and actively seeking assistance are essential for recovery.
What Is MS?
MS is an incurable neurological condition characterized by a wide range of symptoms. These range from acute episodes (like numbness, slurred speech and vision loss) to remissions – periods when the disease may temporarily cease progression.
Symptoms typically develop gradually over time, often leading people with MS unaware that they’ve been afflicted with the illness at all. If left undetected, any number of issues can arise – such as fatigue, cognitive difficulties and tremors; these are just a few!
Not only can individuals experience numerous symptoms, but their severity varies widely between individuals. Some may be relatively minor while others could potentially be life-threatening; yet there exist multiple levels of severity within each individual’s experience – leaving one without a clear sense of what exactly it entails!
MS and Depression: A Connection Most People with MS Are Not Aware of
Depression is a common symptom among individuals with Multiple Sclerosis, yet the incidence is significantly higher in this population compared to those without Clinical Depression.
Despite the fact that depression plagues one in ten of all people with MS, only six percent (6%) of sufferers meet criteria for clinically-significant levels of depression; which is a concerning finding indeed!
Symptoms of depression may manifest themselves in a variety of ways – from persistent sadness to irritability and apathy. Individuals experiencing such symptoms often find it difficult to concentrate or exhibit the vigour necessary for daily life activities, with low energy and recurrent fatigue being particularly apparent.
How Have Scientists Scrutinized the Connection Between MS and Depression?
Depression is no stranger to people with multiple sclerosis. In fact, it is estimated that 50% of all MS patients will be afflicted by some degree of depression; this figure can reach up to 80% in those who also have an anxiety disorder.
Researchers at the Neuroscience Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center sought to explore the link between MS and depression. They recruited a total of 261 participants (including 11 individuals with MS); all were examined over two eight-week periods (one for treatment and one for assessment).
The researchers found that individuals with depression displayed greater levels of inflammation both in the cerebrospinal fluid within the brain as well as their blood than did those without any psychiatric symptoms. Furthermore, this type of inflammation was associated with increased risk for developing multiple sclerosis – indicating that depressive disorders may be a pre-cursor for its onset!
Why the Confusion Around MS and Depression?
Depression is quite common among those who suffer from MS. In fact, roughly one in every three people who are afflicted with the disease will also experience symptoms of depression; that means an astounding 20% of individuals suffering with MS are also burdened by feelings such as sadness and emptiness.
While these two conditions frequently occur together, they are not synonymous -at least not to everyone’s satisfaction! Here’s why:
The aforementioned symptoms can be indicative of depression and may even lead to a diagnosis of clinical depression. But, this does not necessarily mean that one must have experienced a depressive episode in order to have MS. Moreover, only severe cases will warrant consideration for a diagnosis of this debilitating condition!
Clinical Tips for Treating Depression in People With MS
Depression is a common, yet under-recognized complaint among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Undoubtedly, it can be challenging to comprehend what you can do to alleviate this distressing mental state when little research has been conducted on its relation to MS. Nonetheless, there are still effective strategies available that may help alleviate symptoms of depression in this population.
Unlock your potential for success with these practical tips:
Anticipatory grief is an important coping mechanism for managing the inevitable psychological stresses associated with losing a loved one. Although mourning may take time and effort, it can ultimately provide relief from grief. For those who are struggling with depression and anxiety, this could prove helpful as any form of activity could potentially serve as a distraction from their inner turmoil – giving them some measure of solace and alleviating stress! To experience some relief from such feelings, consider taking up volunteer work or simply spending more time out in nature; both offer opportunities for respite from everyday pressures.
Take stock of how you feel in terms of sleep. You may notice that it becomes increasingly difficult to get adequate slumber every night – even after obtaining adequate rest during the day. This is a commonly experienced issue among individuals with chronic health conditions like MS; therefore, taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene can help ensure sound physical wellbeing while providing restful slumber throughout the night.
Did you glean any insights into the connection between depression and multiple sclerosis? If so, please let us know in the comments below!