Stress is a part of everyone's life, but people with MS have extra sources of stress. Dealing with symptoms, making decisions about treatment, and modifying your activities to adjust to MS can all add to the stress in your life. A certain level of stress is good – it keeps you motivated and alert. But too much stress can have negative effects on your health.
We still don't understand the exact relationship between stress and MS. Many people with MS notice that their symptoms get worse during stressful times. So far, researchers have not reached a final conclusion about whether stress actually does make MS worse. Both MS and stress can affect your emotions. Stress has a different impact on each person with MS because the symptoms and severity of MS vary widely from person to person. Each person also has their own way of reacting to stress. Regardless, everyone with MS can benefit from reducing the stress in their lives. This won't cure MS, but it will improve your overall health and free up more of your energy to cope with the condition.
You can't avoid stress altogether. Instead, the key is to deal with stress effectively. Learn to recognize your own personal "stress signs", identify the sources of stress in your life, and develop coping strategies. Your healthcare professional, friends and family can all help you to deal with stress.
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