Multiple sclerosis is a medical condition that, in its most advanced stages, can completely change a person’s life. Because it’s so complex and has multiple severe symptoms, MS can cause anxiety in people who have recently been diagnosed, as there is a lot of overwhelming information to process. It’s not uncommon for people to pay attention to their physical health, and neglect their emotion well-being.
MS is severe, and this is the main reason why mood swings are very common in people who have been recently diagnosed with it. It’s a normal part of the process that involves understanding how to cope with such a problem.
As human beings, people are afraid of the things they don’t know, and this fear causes them to act irrationally in the face of potential danger. With MS, a person’s life can change so much, it becomes increasingly more difficult to make the proper changes.
MS patients must first understand that mood swings are a normal thing, and they are even common among people who aren’t physically ill at all. A person who suffer from MS can feel anything from anxiety, fear, worry, depression, sadness, melancholy, or grief. Mood swings should not be felt untreated, as they are the source of stress and pain.
Stress & anxiety
Frustration, stress, and anxiety, are part of the process of dealing with such a complicated condition as multiple sclerosis. When a person begins to lose control over their bodily and cognitive functions, they can become anything from angry to overwhelmed. Since MS implies a lot of changes in the body and brain, people begin to experience anxiety, as they are faced with a situation that’s new and uncommon to them.
People experience a lot of stress in their daily life as it is, and MS does nothing but make this worse. People who suffer from MS will have toi plan ahead, which is an extra source of distress. When stress symptoms become worse, the body starts feeling a lot of fatigue, and the immune system begins to weaken even further. This, in turn, can lead to heart problems, diabetes, and depression.
Depression & grieving
It’s quite difficult to tell these two symptoms apart, because they are quite similar to one another. Grieving is an emotional process that helps people go through the normal steps of a loss. With MS patients, the loss is of one’s self, as it drastically changes the quality of life, and takes a lot of time to get used to. With MS patients, there can be multiple losses that require proper grieving, from losing the capacity to focus and work, to losing control over movements.
While often confused with depression, grieving is a different emotional process:
- Grieving is generally a time-limited problem and one that solves on its own. Depression is persistent, and will often require therapy to overcome. People that refuse to treat their depression are more likely to stay in this state for a very long time.
- People can find activities that distract them from the grieving process for a limited time. Hobbies or recreational activities distract people’s attention. On the other hand, depression is constant and rather pulls a person further away from activities that could make them feel better.
- Grieving is something that one can treat through counseling or by joining support groups with people that want to cope with this issue. Depression requires a mental health professional, and can sometimes imply medication. While emotional support for depressed people is good, in most cases, it’s just not enough.
Depression is one of the most misused psychological terms in human history. When people have to deal with emotional stress and some of life’s more common problems, they auto-diagnose themselves as being depressed. The use of this term in such situations is often abused, as depression is actually a mental disorder that requires intensive monitoring and treatment.
Depression is a symptom very common in people who suffer from MS. It’s often treated or kept under control through the use of prescribed medication, or by undergoing therapy. It’s important to monitor people with depression, as this is one of the most common causes of suicide.
Managing emotional change symptoms in multiple sclerosis patients
The first step toward managing these emotional changes is accepting that they exist, and understanding how they work. The most delicate issue with emotional changes is that people sometimes refuse to acknowledge their existence, which makes it difficult to seek help. The greatest part of treating any problem is accepting that it exists. From that point on, there are several things an MS patient can do to make their lives a little bit better:
- People who suffer from MS and have to make drastic lifestyle changes must accept the fact that they will feel overwhelmed. In such cases, it’s best to learn how to delegate some of the tasks that are causing this sense of overwhelming. It could be anything from going grocery shopping to paying the bills online.
- When people are diagnosed with something as severe as MS, they are tempted to avoid their family and friends. There is a common misconception that these people become burdens when, in fact, working together with the people around them can lead to fruitful teamwork results.
- Another common misbelief is that therapy is for “crazy people”. Therapy is a process that helps a person better understand their own background, their beliefs, mechanisms, and can greatly improve any person’s mind. The benefits of therapy are numerous, and they have been known to help people with MS deal with their emotional changes.
- Exercise and relaxation techniques can go a long way. It’s important to seek activities that can take your mind away from the difficulties that MS brings into one’s life.
The key to dealing with MS emotional changes is through physical and mental activities. If you, or someone you care about has been recently diagnosed with MS, know that it’s important to talk about every feeling, so that people can understand that loved one will not abandon them because of this condition.