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US News & World Report: MS & Depression

Doctors Say Take It Seriously and Get Help Now

A diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis can lead to a bout or bouts of depression. The good news,  you are not alone, and there are doctors working hard to be there for you.

Dr. Geoff Eubank, system chief of general neurology with OhioHealth says there are multiple triggers, including physical problems.

"In general, having to deal with a chronic disease such as MS, with its many difficult symptoms – among them visual problems, extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, cognitive fog and balance issues – can cause depression,” says Dr.  Eubank, to U.S. News & World Report. “But that’s only one possible trigger."

Eubank continues: “Secondly, the high incidence of depression in MS patients may also have to do with the particular damage to the myelin sheath around the nerves responsible for helping the brain send signals that modify mood. If those nerves are misfiring, than the mechanism that works to correct mood won’t be functioning correctly," he told reporter Robin Westen.

In many cases, doctors will prescribe medications to help with the fight against the disease. And in some cases, that can also play a role in depression.

“Depression can be a side effect of drugs prescribed for MS symptoms, particularly those in the interferon family, often used to treat acute relapse,” Eubank says to USNWR. “But it’s not the same for everyone. Patients react to interferon medication differently, so the same drug that contributes to depression in one person with MS may not cause it in someone else. And there seems to be some evidence that certain MS medications are more likely to increase the risk of depression in someone who already has a history of mood disorders," he added.

In many cases, medications can be changed.

Whether the person is dealing with a neurological condition like MS, or just general depression, it is something that needs to be addressed, and taken seriously.

“Seeing a mental health professional, getting on a medication designed to treat depression, joining a support group, reducing stresses in your daily life and exercising regularly are some ways to deal with the condition," Eubank told the writer.

To learn more about neuroscience at OhioHealth, click here.