Multiple Sclerosis: Mental and Emotional Problems

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Multiple Sclerosis: Mental and Emotional Problems

Topic Overview

Cognitive impairment problems can be caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) and may include difficulty with:

  • Memory, especially short-term memory.
  • Problem solving.
  • Keeping attention on a mental task, such as a math calculation.
  • Finding the right words to express yourself.

These problems are often quite mild early in the course of the disease. But they may get worse with time, depending on the location of tissue damage (MS lesions) in the brain. Neuropsychological tests may help identify specific problems. Side effects of medicines used to relieve physical MS symptoms may cause cognitive problems.

Emotional problems may include:

  • Depression, which is common in people with MS.
  • Anxiety.
  • Anger.
  • Inappropriate cheerfulness (euphoria).
  • Thoughts of suicide.

Treating your emotional problems is as important as treating other symptoms of MS. Family counselling and counselling by other people who have MS are both available. If you need help finding a counsellor or support group, contact your doctor or the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last Revised April 15, 2010

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