Depression is common in MS, and in addition to any possible depression that results from coping with a chronic illness, depression in MS may be caused by damage to the nerves within certain areas of the brain. Major depressive disorder is the most-common type of depression experienced, and with this form of depression, individuals feel depressed much of the time – affecting one’s sleep, appetite, motivation, ability to concentrate, interest in activities, and more.

In all types of depression, activities of daily living can feel overwhelming and there is a tendency to believe this will never change. While depression in MS is often underdiagnosed and undertreated, a mental-health specialist who has experience with chronic disease should be consulted if a person with MS may be experiencing symptoms of depression. Participating in psychological therapy and taking antidepressant medication appear to be the most effective means of treating depression in MS.

Depression Versus Sadness and Fatigue

Types of Depression

Assessing the Symptoms of Depression

Depression Rates Differ Between the Sexes

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Strained Family Relationships

Social Withdrawal and Job Strain/Loss

Coping with Depression

Treatment Options

Medications That Can Trigger Depressive Responses

Updated in July 2023 by Dr. Barry Hendin, MSAA Chief Medical Officer
Original content by Dr. Miriam Franco MSW, PsyD, MSCS

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