Mood Disorders and Depression


Depression is one of the most common and troubling MS symptoms. By some estimates, one in two people with MS will experience depression at some point. This is approximately three times the lifetime incidence in the general population and higher than the rate of depression experienced by people with most other chronic diseases, including other neurological disorders.

The consequences of depression are far reaching and potentially devastating. Depression can interfere with relationships, the ability to earn a living, quality of life, and is associated with a higher overall mortality, including deaths from suicide. Indeed, the risk of suicide in MS is sometimes estimated to be seven times higher than it is among people without MS. Recognizing depression early can ameliorate the potential consequences of depression and is the first step in getting treatment. It is critical that patients—and their families—stay vigilant for signs of depression, such as fatigue, irritability, tearfulness, loss of enjoyment, sleep disturbance and especially thoughts of self harm.

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