People with MS can get depressed. A lot of feelings come up when adjusting to life with a chronic disease: grief, anger and anxiety are just a few. But if your "blue" mood goes on for weeks or more, it may be a sign that you are clinically depressed.
Depression tends to worsen if it is not treated. So take action if you think you are depressed. The first step is to recognize the problem. Then get the help you need to cope with it.
Recognize the problem.
Do you have 5 or more of these symptoms that last for two weeks or longer?
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Feeling sad, tearful, anxious, or "numb"
- Feeling irritable, angry, pessimistic
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, empty
- Feeling guilty, worthless
- Decreased energy, ongoing fatigue
- Impaired concentration, memory, decision-making
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Appetite and weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Get the help you need.
- Get a professional evaluation by a physician and/or mental health professional.
- Call 1-800-344-4867 for referrals from your chapter office.
- The best treatment is usually a combination of psychotherapy + medication.
What You CAN do now to cope with your depression.
- Exercise daily.
- Reduce stress in your life. Try breathing exercises and meditation.
- Maintain your social networks. Call your friends. Join a support group. Don't withdraw from the world.
- Stay in touch with your medical team.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Get a notebook and write. Find some quiet time for yourself.
- Stay away from addictive substances such as alcohol.
Contributing editors: Staff, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis