Depression and MS

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Adam Kaplin, MD
Depression has a bigger impact on someone's quality of life than any other symptom associated with MS. It is just like any other neurologic symptom that happens with MS and is treatable just like other, you know, visual symptoms or weakness or numbness.

It affects women and men equally. And because it's due to the inflammation in the brain, during a flare up that is when the risk of depression is greatest.

That's also when the risk of suicide is also the highest.

50% of people with multiple sclerosis will get clinical depression. So it'd be nice ahead of time to sort of prepare and head things off. Try to improve the things that will keep you healthy like exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep.

Once you become depressed, it's important to recognize it and get the help you need.

That help will come in the forms of both medications and psychotherapy, talk therapy.

Make sure that you're getting in touch with the right professionals to assist with whatever the symptoms you're having.

Reach out to your lifeline. Have that person that you already have spoken to who says, yes, I want you to call me.

Don't withdraw. You need to make sure you continue to stay connected to the people in your life that are important and are part of your support system.

Keep a diary of some kind to keep track of what your symptoms are as part of just being proactive about your health.

It's very hard to achieve a 100% remission with many of the MS symptoms. But even though depression is life threatening, I think depression is the most treatable part of MS.