Meghan Beier , Neuropsychologist & Abbey Hughes , Psychologist
4 Jan 2023 | ~4:35 Engagement Time
Does your emotional state seem to change week-to-week or day-to-day?
Have you noticed changes in your thinking, memory, or problem solving?
You are not alone! Approximately 50% of people with MS experience changes in mood, including:
At the same time, about two-thirds of people experience changes in cognition, such as:
What does this mean for your wellbeing?
First, it is important to recognize that mood and cognitive symptoms are strongly related to one another. Addressing both is an important part of comprehensive MS care.
If you find yourself having any of the following symptoms for longer than a couple weeks, it is important for you to mention them to your health care provider (especially if your provider does not ask):
Think about your mental health the same way you think about your physical health with MS: when something is wrong, you seek treatment.
How Do You Get Started?
While it can be intimidating to open up, you may find that working with a professional provides you a safe environment and clear steps to a better quality of life.
What types of treatments are there for mood and cognition changes?
You and your health care providers will explore what type of psychological or behavioral treatments are right for you.
Here are a few of the common therapies and practices that are helpful for improving both mood and cognitive symptoms without medication:
How can you get started?
Again, if you’re noticing mood or cognition changes, bring them up to your neurologist, general health care provider, or contact a comprehensive MS Center. They can recommend or refer you to a specialist.
You can also research providers of the mental health treatments listed above on your own.
What if In-Person Treatment isn't Possible?
You can still meet with a professional! Research suggests that remotely-delivered treatments over video or phone call are acceptable, convenient, and effective for people with MS and their support partners.
Telemedicine is a great option for you if:
One more thing: Don’t forget support partners!
Given that MS can affect the whole family, support partners are also likely to experience changes in mood and cognition. Remind your support partner to monitor their mental health and encourage them to seek treatment if needed.
Mental health is a critical part of your overall health.
You’re already dedicated to maintaining healthy nutrition, getting physical activity, sleeping well, taking MS medications as prescribed, and avoiding excessive tobacco and alcohol use. Remember that your mental health plays just as important of a role in your overall health! Caring for your mood and cognition is key to wellness throughout your life!