People with MS experience feelings of depression more than people who don’t have it. Understandably, MS can also cause a lot of anxiety. Your mood may be low or agitated because of all the challenges and losses that can come with having MS. Research suggests that MS and Depression may also be related due to the physical changes caused by the disease.
“Depression” can refer to a variety of emotional states and can range from feeling down for a few hours to a serious clinical depression that can last for months. It’s common for people dealing with MS to feel down, and it is understandable and nothing to be ashamed of.
Left untreated, depression can make other MS symptoms feel worse (like fatigue, pain and cognitive changes) and can reduce your quality of life. While physical symptoms often demand attention, emotional symptoms are important too. Having a low mood or feeling down from time to time is normal and is different from clinical depression. Clinical depression does not let up and is characterized by having symptoms for two weeks or more.
Symptoms of clinical depression are:
- Feeling sad and/or irritable
- Losing of interest or pleasure in everyday activities
- Changes in your appetite
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Agitation or slowing in behavior
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Problems with thinking or concentration
- Persistent thoughts of death or suicide
There is help, whether you are just feeling low, if you think you may be clinically depressed. Treatment can involve the use of medication and/or talk therapy.