Managing depression in MS

Learn about strategies for managing depression in people with MS.

1/10/2018

Question

I have MS and often feel overwhelmed and depressed. What should I do?

Answer

First, know you're not alone. Depression is very common among people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Between the physical loss of function and lifestyle changes, it's easy to understand how MS could cause depression.

Some evidence also suggests that MS itself may cause changes in the body that make you more vulnerable to depression. Whether your depression is a reaction to or caused by MS, there are effective treatments.

Know the symptoms

Recognizing depression is not always easy. Some of the physical and mental symptoms, such as fatigue and cognitive problems, are common to MS as well. It's also important to distinguish between a fleeting case of "the blues" and true depression.

Some common signs and symptoms of depression include:

You may have all or only a few of these signs and symptoms. The hallmark of depression is that your symptoms persist, usually lasting at least two weeks.

Get help

If you're depressed, don't wait to reach out for help. Talk with your doctor or neurologist first to determine your next step. He or she can help you with treatment or refer you to someone who can help.

Treatments for depression may include:

Studies show that exercise can also significantly improve mood and quality of life for people with MS.

FAQ-20111498
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