Exclusive Content

12 Reasons you Should Seek Treatment for Depression

By Gay Falkowski

If you’re managing a lot of different MS symptoms, feelings of depression can easily be overlooked. You may believe you are just tired or understandably sad to be living with a chronic illness. If so, you may not speak to anyone about what you’re feeling, hoping the blues will just fade away. They won’t, not if what you are experiencing is clinical depression. To be sure and to receive a proper diagnosis, visit a qualified mental health professional, ideally one who understands the particular challenges MS brings. Here are a dozen good reasons to seek help if you think you might be depressed.

1) Depression can have a harmful effect on your ability to function in day-to-day life. If your job requires sustained concentration, performance may be affected.

2) Pain intensifies when you are depressed. Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.

3) Restorative sleep can be interrupted because of depression. The University of Texas Medical School in Houston reports that once the biologic clock has been disturbed, sleep can be even more irregular and that adds to the depression. It can become a vicious cycle for many people.

4) Your energy wanes when you are depressed. One of the most common MS symptoms, fatigue is already a major problem for many people with MS. The added tiredness can be especially debilitating.

5) Depression can make it difficult for you to take good care of yourself. Taking your MS medications on schedule is essential to keeping your MS in check. Even the simplest tasks can seem overwhelming when you are depressed.

6) Your thoughts are more negative when you’re depressed. It’s as though you are viewing life through a distorted lens. Making wise decisions is difficult when your perspective is skewed.

7) You are less able to cope with stress when you are depressed. Many people with MS note that their symptoms worsen during times of stress. Activities that relieve stress, such as meditation, can be more difficult to carry out when you are depressed.

8) Depression can lead to social isolation. Staying connected with others is especially important to individuals with MS, who often rely on a support system. Studies have shown social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

9) People are less likely to exercise if they are depressed. The physical and psychological benefits of exercise for people with MS has been well established. Get rid of what’s holding you back.

10) Left untreated over time, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide. If you begin having suicidal thoughts, seek immediate assistance from a mental health provider and/or call a crisis helpline. Let your loved ones know, too.

11) Family and friends may not understand. If depression is making you moody, and you begin acting differently, they may misinterpret your words and behaviors and begin pulling away. Share your feelings with them. Get help.

12) You don’t have to suffer! Depression can be successfully treated, ideally with a combination of medication and talk therapy. Relief is possible!