Depression is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). Problem is, the relationship between depression and other MS symptoms, such as fatigue and cognitive dysfunction, is complicated. Often, these symptoms are very difficult to untangle from each other and it is hard to know which one to start working on first.
For several years, experts have been urging doctors to ask two questions to determine if someone might be depressed:
1) Have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless?
2) Have you often been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things?
Alternatively, one could ask them worded in this way:
1) Have you felt depressed or sad much of the time?
2) Have you lost interest in things you used to be interested in?
90% of people who are depressed will answer "yes" to either one of these questions. However, only 60% of the people who answer "yes" are actually depressed. In other words, while the two-question screening test captures the majority of depressed people, it also captures many people who have other things going on and further evaluation is needed.
Regardless, this is a good way to start figuring things out. Ask yourself these questions. If the answer to either one is "yes," go talk to your doctor. Depression is serious and it is very common among people with MS. It can be treated. It is not your fault.
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