Posted by: Dead in 1 year or less | February 22, 2011




It’s all in your head

An MS diagnosis has its own emotional impact, as does living with an unpredictable chronic disease.  In addition to these external challenges, some individuals with MS may experience cognitive and/or emotional changes due to MS-related neurological effects, which in turn are often associated with fatigue.  Sorting out these various influences on your mood and/or mental abilities can be a complex but worthwhile process.

Not everyone with MS will experience cognitive difficulties, but about 50% usually have some mild impairment.  There is little or no relationship between duration of the disease, or severity of physical symptoms, and cognitive changes.

Whereas brain lesions can result in more long-term cognitive problems, a number of factors can interfere with or impair cognition temporarily.  These factors include:

  • fatigue and tiredness
  • emotional changes
  • MS relapses
  • physical difficulties that may require extra effort and concentration (eg, unstable walking)
  • lifestyle changes, such as loss of employment and thus, mental stimulation
  • some treatments for MS symptoms

Cognitive functions that may be affected by MS

  • Attention and concentration may be affected, making it difficult to concentrate when more than one stimulus is competing for attention
  • Memory may be impaired, particularly for recent events
  • Information processing may take longer, but performance is not necessarily otherwise affected
  • Abstract reasoning, problem-solving, and executive functions may be affected, making it more difficult to analyze a situation, identify the main points, plan a course of action, and carry it out.  Judgment may also be affected
  • Visual-spatial abilities may be impaired, which may reduce the ability to perform a variety of tasks such as reading a chart or map, recognizing objects accurately, or assembling things
  • Verbal fluency may be affected, making it more difficult to find the words to communicate.  (This is not the same as problems that slow speech down or change voice quality in MS.)

Should you have any health care-related questions, please call or see your physician or other health care provider promptly.

You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

Users are urged, advised and specifically warned to seek the advice of a medical professional such as a physician before beginning any treatment.

Brought to you courtesy of:

Shared Solutions®, MSWatch®, and msdialogue® are trademarks of Teva Canada Innovation. © 2010, Teva Canada Innovation G.P.-S.E.N.C., Montreal, Quebec H3A 3L4


  1. Thank you for the information regarding MS. This blog was insightful and should be reviewed by anyone with this ailment. We will share this information with our clients. If any readers of this blog are looking to qualify for Social Security Disability, the Disability Group Inc. is more than happy to help.

  2. Thank you for posting. I finally get to feel normal – not typical normal – MS normal. I am not alone anymore! Keep up the blessful blog! Its healing these years of emotional pain. Thanks so much!

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