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Dealing with anxiety in MS: What works?

Ever since I was diagnosed with MS, it seems like I'm always worried about something. What can I do?

Answer by B. Mark Keegan, M. D.

Daily life with a chronic, unpredictable condition such as multiple sclerosis can understandably demand a psychological toll. People with MS have an increased risk of anxiety for many reasons.

You may not know how you feel from morning to afternoon or from one day to the next. Often you never know when or if a flare-up will occur or how much you might be affected.

Other factors in MS can also affect you emotionally, such as: As damage to the nerve cells of your brain or side effects of drugs as corticosteroids.

The good news is that, in contrast to some other aspects of MS, anxiety is treatable. And with the right treatment, you can significantly improve your quality of life.

If you think that your anxiety is something beyond the ordinary concerns of everyday life, you should take steps to address it, which is key in treating emotional issues in MS. Tell your family, friends and doctor about your feelings. Informing your doctor will help you to be diagnosed and treated if necessary. Family and friends can help you better if they know what you are going through.

  • seek treatment. Professional counseling and support groups can also be very helpful in dealing with the states of anxiety and distress that accompany MS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society or your doctor may contact you with helpful resources.
  • Many people believe that relaxation or physical exercises – such as deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or tai chi – can play a significant role in reducing anxiety and creating feelings of calm.

    Updated: 2014-11-12

    Release date: 2014-11-12

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