Do MS suffers going through stages of anger/denial?

Hi All, i suppose this is a tricky subject, I have a family memeber who was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago, and it has progresed, during the last 12 months they have become increasingly angry, verbally abusive and even paranoid. We believe we have tried everything we can to over come these challanges, but have been unsuccessful, and my brother is now withdrawing from us all. I am very tempted to contact a professional and seek their assistance, but do not want to go behind his back, all advise and guidance would be appreciated.


Hi Joeanne,

I think the answer is: “It depends on the person”. People deal with adverse circumstances in different ways - some, but not all, will choose anger and denial.

However, it’s possible that rather than this being a conscious coping tactic by your relative, MS has actually altered their brain in ways that affect emotion and behaviour. That could mean they lack insight into what they are doing, and have limited ability to change it.

Emotional difficulties, either as a direct result of changes in the brain, OR as a result of living with “very challenging” circumstances are not uncommon with MS. However, it is going to be difficult to seek help, if the person does not recognize there is a problem. Unless they are actually certifiable (sounds unlikely in this case), they cannot be forced to seek or receive treatment for something they don’t believe is an issue (or even if they admit it IS an issue, but just don’t want treatment).

Is your relative in regular contact with an MS nurse, or any other healthcare professional? Somebody who would notice if their mental condition was deteriorating? You could mention it to the GP or MS nurse in confidence, and say that you are worried, but you would still face the obstacle that they can’t step in to help, without the patient’s cooperation. However, it is possible that the suggestion coming from a health professional would be better accepted than from a family member. Even for those who are well, having a relative point out their shortcomings, and what they ought to do about them, can be pretty hard to take!



seen as he has had ms for 20 years now,and has just suddenly become aggressive,it could be a lesion on the part of the brain that controls his emotions,try asking him how he feels about it and mention that he could perhaps have a word with his neuro or ms nurse,if he has one,i have had ms for 21 years now,and its the last few years i have started getting very agitated and withdrawn,and i know that my personality has changed a lot,and theres nothing i can do to stop it,i also think that a lot of neuros arent yet aware that ms can cause these devastating symptoms,i know that mine feels its because i have to live with the ms,is the reason i get agitated and weepy,when i know thats not the case,i am on an anti depressant and have been for a while,dont know if it helps me or not,but my neuro did say if its lesions causing the symptoms, that they treat it very much the same way as they would treat it in a person who didnt have ms,and i do know that cognitive behavioural therapy can and does help,i was going to have it,last year but was too ill to go for it,so i am going to ask if i can have it,because i feel it may just help me.