Rehabilitation psychologist Dr Roy Aloni discusses MS-related distress and explains how an app can support MS patients experiencing this.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation, and balance. Usually diagnosed in people in their 20s and 30s, MS is a lifelong condition that can sometimes lead to serious disability.
As well as the physical symptoms of MS, the condition is also often associated with mental stress caused by the symptoms and the unpredictability of the disease’s nature. These stressors can lead to mental distress that, in turn, can become traumatic distress manifested as a variety of symptoms including intrusion, avoidance, hyper-arousal, and negative changes in cognition, and expressing emotions.
The nature of MS’ symptoms and dealing with the traumatic distress they cause can also affect other areas of a person’s life. For example, the cluster of avoidance symptoms it causes include internal and external avoidance. Internal avoidance describes attempts to avoid thinking about the disease, while external avoidance refers to avoiding various triggers related to the disease. This might include avoiding the hospital, examinations, and medications, and it may even spread to include other daily and life functions that relate directly or indirectly to the disease.
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