Imagine having to depend on somebody else because you are unable to perform simple everyday tasks? Psychologically, this can be devastating. A patient of multiple sclerosis, especially in the advanced stages, will need support and assistance throughout the day. This overdependence on others can lead to depression.
Through this blog, we’ll try to understand the connection between multiple sclerosis and depression.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
An autoimmune, neurodegenerative and inflammatory condition, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) attacks the central nervous system (CNS). It disrupts the working of the immune system, and makes it attack healthy cells in the body.
As a demyelinating disorder of the CNS, MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath (a thin layer covering the axons of the neuron). When the myelin along with the nerve fibers are attacked and destroyed, scar tissue and inflammation disrupts the communication routes between the CNS and the rest of the body. As the condition progresses, it can cause various impairments in the body, especially in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Every MS case is different, so too are their accompanying symptoms. However, there are some common symptoms that we need to keep in mind.
- Trouble walking
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Blurred or double vision
- Numbness and tingling
- Sexual problems
- Poor bladder or bowel control
- Lack of memory or focus
While the earliest signs of MS can show up between the ages of 20 and 40 years, research indicates that accompanying neuropsychiatric disorders can aggravate the symptoms too. In many cases, it is the emotional challenges that make it harder to live with MS.
Depression and MS
We know MS can do to a person’s body. Severe motor and cognitive dysfunction can lead to feeling despondent and dejected. When MS destroys the myelin sheath, it also leads to degeneration of nerves that affect our mood. This is why we recommend keeping your doctor informed and even seeking the help of a therapist or counselor to prevent a mental collapse.
What are the signs of depression a patient with MS needs to watch out for?
- Fatigue and overtiredness
- Lack of concentration
- Impaired memory
- Feeling hopeless
Myths about MS and depression
It is important to bear in mind that all of these symptoms can just be relating to MS alone and need not indicate depression. However, MS’ impact on a person’s cognitive capabilities can adversely affect a person’s self-image and worth. If not addressed, this can lead to depression.
Let’s bust some misconceptions regarding MS and depression.
Everyone with MS will be depressed
Symptoms as well as the ability to adapt differ from patient to patient. If one is resilient in coping with stress, the chances of developing depression are very low. Consider this: only 50% of MS patients develop depression. Consulting a therapist, who will prepare the patient to fight the adversities of MS, can help them come to terms with their condition.
People with MS always look and act depressed
What looks like depression may just be fatigue and poor concentration.
Grief is depression
Unfortunately, the words “grief” and “depression” are often used interchangeably without considering the medical implications of the latter. Losing the ability to walk properly, impaired vision, and feeling tired all the time are likely to make a person sad. But is it always depression? No. Grief is a temporary reaction to loss — whether of a loved one or one’s ability to lead a normal life.
This blog will help you understand the difference between grief and depression.
What does Plexus offer?
MS is one of the few serious neurological disorders whose progression can be stalled with timely intervention.
At Plexus, we offer a customised Multiple Sclerosis Rehabilitation Programme that helps manage the condition and its related symptoms. We devise custom treatment plans to manage your symptoms, increase your day-to-day functionality, and improve your social-communication skills.
Our MS rehabilitation programme includes:
Stem cell therapy — A non-surgical procedure in which autologous mesenchymal cells are injected into the patient’s body to replace the damaged cells.
Physiotherapy — Improves mobility, posture, and balance.
Occupational therapy — Fosters independence by improving daily functionality.
Speech therapy — Helps the patient regain their non-verbal and verbal communication skills.
At Plexus’ Neuropsychiatric Care Clinic, we help you lead a life that is purposeful. Depression does not have to diminish the quality of your life. Timely diagnosis and attention can help save many lives.
To know more, reach out to us today.
WhatsApp +91 89048 42087
Call +91 78159 64668 (Hyderabad) | +91 82299 99888 (Bangalore)