Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Psychoneuroimmunology, Multiple Sclerosis, Depression, Inflammation, Psychosomatic Disorders

Ok. So I'm working on this grand post which touches on the issue of psychosomatic disorders and how those with Multiple Sclerosis might be told "it's all in your head" before they even discover that "it truly is in your head."

There is quite a bit of reach which connects inflammation, stress-induced cortisol levels, etc and the physical and psychological manifestations in humans. BTW, did you know that not only are they same pro-inflammatory cytokines inflammatory proteins (ie Interleukin-2 and -6) involved in MS are also involved in depression and bi-polar disorder?

How many of you were directed to consult a psychiatrist or offered anti-depressants before the doctor's would consider your symptoms which you now know are caused by MS?

Also, there is research that does indicate that specific types of antidepressants may be helpful in protecting from neurological damage. The whole field of psychoneuroimmunology is new to me, so I am reading a lot about it.

If you have information you'd like to share which touches on any of the above, please feel free to do so in the comments.


  1. Hi!Lisa
    I put my hand up. I was told by aHealth Canada doctor ,who spent about 20 minutes assessing me, to take a year off work, go to a psychiatrist, and take anti depressants. Now, because I put in a written complaint about him,he has changed his mind, and wants another chance to review my case. Ain't gonna happen.

  2. I don't always tell a new doctor right away that I have MS, let them diagnose me by looking at me, not my file. I have had numerous times when they close my folder and say, it's probably the MS. GREAT!

  3. Lisa,
    I went to a seminar several years ago and the guest speaker was a Dr. Anthony Feinstein, a neurologist from Toronto. His focus was on depression in MS patients. One of his observations was that depression can be the first symptom of MS in some people - up to 3 years before other symptoms appear.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the physical changes brought on by MS can have an effect on our mental health.


  4. This is sort of interesting: when I was in the clinical trial and first starting with the Betaseron, the nurse at the study kept mentioning going on an antidepressant. So was it the Betaseron, the fact that my MS was raging and excrutiating and I was perhaps a "difficult patient", or the fact that the MS caused damage to my "emotional" brain? I'll probably never know, but I don't go anywhere without my trusty Lexapro now. It's a blessing.

  5. This is very interesting. As you know, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder originally, but it was probably MS, just not diagnosed. Now they say it was probably the MS all along, but who can really know?

  6. Hi Nadja!

    @Carole, I raise my hand as well. Dx with depression years before MS. However, I have found anti-depressants and counseling to be very helpful.

    @Andy, That's an interesting approach. My neurologist is always saying, "not everything is MS. You are not immune from developing any other disease or disorder out there."

    @Shauna, I keep coming across Feinstein's name in my research of research. This is an area which interested me greatly. I plan to do more writing on the matter.

    @Jen, "Difficult patient" - you? I can't imagine. :) I'm with you on the anti-depressants. They have helped to keep me functional.

    @Erin, Yes I do remember you mentioning the bipolar dx before MS. There are now explanations of the inflammation connection which help to explain why they might be confused.

  7. Hello All,

    I wrote an initial piece on this topic which can be found here - Multiple Sclerois: Psychosomatic, Neurologic, Mood Disorder, or Personality?

    I hope that you will consider reading and commenting as I believe this is a topic which is important to us all. Thanks!!