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The Psychological Impact of Multiple Sclerosis
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

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Amy Sullivan, Psych.D.

  • Neurological Institute
  • Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research
  • Associate Staff
  • Cleveland Clinic

Do you have Multiple Sclerosis and find yourself depressed because of the challenges it presents? You are not alone. Up to half of all people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis also show signs of being depressed, or having psychological problems, at some point during their illness. MS is a chronic and disabling disease which attacks the central nervous system, or CNS, which is made up of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. Symptoms have a wide range, from numbness in limbs to paralysis or loss of vision. The drugs used to treat it, such as steroids and interferon, are powerful and can have side effects.

The result of the amount of stress suffering from MS puts on an individual, and possibly the drugs taken to relieve the symptoms, is often psychological problems. The signs that someone may be depressed are sadness, loss of energy, feeling worthless/hopeless, loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed, irritability, increased need to sleep, change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, decreased sex drive, thoughts of suicide and more. When these symptoms begin to interfere with your normal life or you, or someone you know, begins to contemplate suicide, help should be sought.

If you or someone you know have been, or may be suffering from psychological problems as a result of Multiple Sclerosis, it should not be ignored. Amy Sullivan, Psych. D is an associate staff member in the Mellen Center at the Cleveland. She completed her undergraduate degree at St. Bonaventure University in St Bonaventure, NY, held an internship at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center/ University Hospital, and received her doctorate from Argosy University in Atlanta, GA. She then completed her fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in health psychology and pain management. She will be available during our free online chat to answer your questions regarding this topic.

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