In its April 2012 conference call, the MS/Cancer support group
held a heartfelt discussion about emotions and mood changes associated with
Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The San Antonio, Texas office of the Lonestar Chapter of the
National MS Society supplied each member with a booklet, Multiple Sclerosis
& Your Emotions: Staying Well by Rosalind C. Kalb, PhD., and a video, Mood
Changes and MS.
The book and video address the difficulties people with
multiple sclerosis may have with emotions and mood changes.
Initial reactions to a MS diagnosis may include shock, fear
and anger. Some may feel relief to finally receive a diagnosis. Others may be
Longer-term reactions may include grief, anxiety, anger and
guilt. Whatever emotional reactions a person experiences, it is important to
seek help and support. Talking about these feelings in a supportive setting can
bring relief and productive problem solving.
The video, Mood Changes and MS, said that in addition to its
physical symptoms, MS might cause the following:
Generalized distress and anxiety
Uncontrollable laughing and/or crying
Medications to treat MS can affect a person's moods.
Corticosteroids that are prescribed to manage MS exacerbations may cause
significant mood swings. The beta interferon medications may cause depression.
In her book, Kalb suggested some coping strategies.
Be an active partner in your own health care.
Appraise your MS with realism and flexibility.
Maintain strong bonds with family and friends.
Keep a sense of purpose by setting goals.
Talk about your concerns and feelings.
Have some fun.
Kalb also reminds MS patients that family members have
feelings too. Family members should acknowledge that MS affects them and to
respect each other's coping styles and strategies.
One of the main purposes of the MS/Cancer support group,
co-sponsored by the National MS Society and the American Cancer Society, is to
provide an avenue for dually diagnosed patients to discuss their situations.