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Anxiety and depression may be early signs of multiple sclerosis

multiple sclerosis and depression

Anxiety and depression may be early signs of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disorder caused by nerve damage, resulting in the disruption of communication between the brain and the body. When communication in the nervous system gets glitchy, many things can go wrong because the brain is responsible for interpreting and regulating a wide range of sensations. Vision, speech, muscle control, pain, etc... the brain is responsible for so many things. So many that the symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary greatly, such that it becomes hard to tell when the symptoms are of multiple sclerosis or just some other illness.

For example, when there's nerve damage and the person starts having issues with their vision, it's hard to say if it's multiple sclerosis or just some regular eye problem. And for another patient, the symptom may even manifest as depression, which is also linked to brain function.

To top it off, a person is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis only when they've experienced their first serious eye problem. But the problem is, multiple sclerosis sets in long before the patient will ever experience such symptoms. It's like when a disease develops over time before it begins to manifest.

That said, diagnosing multiple sclerosis has been a dilemma for ages. But there's good news, although it doesn't sound so good:

New research shows that mental illness, including depression and anxiety, may be early signs of multiple sclerosis and can be key to early detection and treatment of the condition.

How is mental illness related to multiple sclerosis?

Knowing how difficult diagnosing multiple sclerosis has been, researchers studied health records to find any link among patients.

The researchers discovered that patients with multiple sclerosis were experiencing mental illnesses (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) at almost two times the rate of the general population. Also, the patients experienced these mental illnesses before their multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and the mental illness peaked just before the diagnosis.

This is not to say that whenever you have a mental illness, you may soon be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Neither is it to say that all multiple sclerosis patients will have anxiety and depression. But the study suggests there is a strong likelihood, and this shouldn't be taken for granted.

What you can do now

And here's why the findings are even more important: your depression and anxiety may be a sign of something more grave happening beneath the surface. You don't want to take these things for granted.

Anxiety and depression can be debilitating enough. But these mental disorders are linked with so many other chronic health conditions. And if you can treat these conditions early before they get full blown, you stand a better chance.

Whatever mental illness you're experiencing, do not take it for granted. Get in touch with a psychiatrist near you today for a thorough evaluation and diagnosis.

We can help you.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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