Healthy Living

Managing Emotions in Multiple Sclerosis

Managing Emotions in Multiple Sclerosis

Managing Emotions in Multiple Sclerosis

From the point of being given an MS diagnosis, up to that place in time where the patient eventually come to terms with the truth, they progress through a grief process.

It's actually a time of mourning for the loss of the life they’d envisioned for themselves. The length of the mourning period is not set in stone and varies from person to person.

Generally, a person’s mourning period has barely started when they are called upon to step up to the plate and begin dealing with the issues that tag along with MS.

One of those issues is mood swings.

The challenge of mood swings for those with MS

As you are no doubt aware, contending with the wild mood swings of MS is one of the more distressing symptoms you must deal with.

Without any forewarning, your moods can change faster than you realize.

All of a sudden, your mouth opens and the words just seem to pour out.

Accompanying these dreaded recurrences are the self-accusations about hurting others with your words.

And, you worry about why you can’t seem to control your emotions.

The National MS Society (NMSS) offers informational support which will hopefully be helpful for you.

Why MS can wreak havoc on your emotions

It’s no secret to those with MS: Dealing with an emotional see-saw is one of the hallmarks of the condition. This can be due to several factors. 

In the beginning, "the emotional consequences" of adjusting to your diagnosis of this "unpredictable disorder" translates your fear into mean words.

After all, it's a lot to ask of a person to accept having a condition that has a "fluctuating course" with "a risk for disease progression to some level of physical disability."

True, but, “I’ve become a person I don’t want to be,” you might respond.

Also, when your MS diagnosis is all new to you, anxiety can reach "peak levels" during this period when you don't yet have a foundational knowledge about your disease.

Grab onto all opportunities to learn all you can about this disease that destroys the protective covering of the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. As you increase your knowledge and understanding, your anxiety level should decrease.

Also, keep in mind that variations in weather, such as rain or intense heat, can also trigger emotional episodes.

And, be aware that “some of the medications used in MS — such as corticosteroids — can also have significant effects on your emotions.”

In addition, these emotional issues have a medical connection. They are spurned by "the demyelination and damage to nerve fibers in (your) brain."

As you and your neurologist create your individualized treatment plan, ask him/her to include ways you can decrease the 'stripping away' of your protective nerve coverings, which underlies your emotional issues.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your verbal outbursts, also request a referral for supportive counseling to be included in your plan.

These remedies can help you stabilize your emotions.