I recently went to a seminar about mood changes in MS. All the information below is a combination of personal experience and a pamphlet handed out at the seminar called “Mood Changes In Multiple Sclerosis” put together by the NMSS and authored by Laurie Budgar. I had never been to a discussion about mood changes in MS that was so comprehensive and informational. I know this seminar helped me to understand the complex makeup of our moods. So, I felt it needed to shared with the chat room. First, so we’re all on the same page I want to define mood. Mood represents the way a person is feeling emotionally at any given moment and is often a response to external events for physical concerns. Moods can vary widely and are, just like MS, unique responses from each individual from extreme happiness, to anger, sadness, and even depression just to mention a few.
Mood changes don’t exist in isolation. They can make can make some physical symptoms of a MS, such a pain or depression feel worse. There are many factors that affect moods. Below are some of the more typical ones, but by no means the complete list.
Grief: is widely felt by most newly diagnosed patients. Grief over the way our lives used to be. A general disbelief that this had to happen to me. Grief can come back and rear it's ugly head repeatedly during the course of this disease. And such relapses of grease can’t be brought on by increase in disability, relapses in MS, for anytime illness occurs, etc.
Depression: Moods can also vary widely in direct correlation to depression. Depression is much more than being sad about favorite sports team looses the game, or your brother or sister doesn't call on your birthday. Most of us recognize the sadness and irritability that accompanies depression, but it involve lots of interest in activities the once brought joy such as hobbies, or spending time with friends, etc. Depression isn't really the opposite of happiness but rather it is the opposite of vitality. Research showed that’s half of all people with MS will experience a major depressive episode sometime in their life. The good news is that depression is one of the most effectively treated symptoms of MS. If you realize you are fighting depression, go to your doctor for help.
Anxiety: Anxiety is quite common in people with MS. It affects more than 35% of those with disease on a regular basis. Anxiety is typically accentuated feelings of being worried most of the time. Possible panic attacks and obsessive compulsive behavior. Some antidepressant medicines has also been shown to work on anxiety. Equally effective for anxiety, many people used stress management techniques such as yoga or meditation. Talk to you doctor again if you suspect you suffer from anxiety. They can help and direct you to order resources that can help.
Triggers of mood swings:
Fear. Fear of the unknown, wondering what’s coming next can be a major trigger of moodiness.
Embarrassment. Embarrassment changes in your body can trigger your moodiness to swinging wildly. Rather it be embarrassment that you fell down again in public or perhaps your bladder has a mind of its own. When you are embarrassed, especially in public, it can have major effects on your moodiness.
Worsening of symptoms. When you go through spells of reduced physical strength or relapses, your mood can become very negative adding your physical decline.
Fatigue. As we all have experienced, fatigue is widespread and very common among MS patients. Because fatigue is an invisible symptom of MS people who do not have MS may not understand and believe the patient is exaggerating the degree of exhaustion they feel or worse yet simply being lazy. This lack of understanding from the public and even caregivers can trigger mood swings and make them worse. Fatigue must be managed and a bottom line is the need for all MS patients to learn to12th conserve your energy. Know your limits and understand when you push past them fatigue can sit in.
Medications. Since most of us with MS are on multiple medications, we often experience fatigue and depression worse than the general public.
Moods play an important role in the how we feel, how well we are able to interact with the world , and how we participate in our own lives. Moods can swing wildly from ecstatic joy, to deep anger, irritability, and depression in the blink of an eye. It is important to speak to your healthcare provider because they can offer support and sometimes, if they find depression is prevalent, medication to help. They can also rule out other disorders that might be playing and underlying roll in your mood swings.
I hope this information is beneficial to one and all. I know it opened my eyes about my moods. If you need additional information feel free to give me a shout and we can talk more about any portion of this post that you wish. Remember together we are stronger! Fancy.