Forum

MS/psychology and the cause of disease

hi there, i opened this thread mainly to get some feedback on peoples experiences and to use them to maybe identify a common trait in people with MS.

At the present time i remain undiagnosed although i believe doctors are just waiting for the next relapse to officialy diagnose. Based on experience i believe that the root of this disease is one that stems from stress and psychological problems.

Over a period of about a year and half leading up to the first symptoms i experienced many problems in life including the sudden and unexpected death of my dad, broke up with my girlfriend, lost my job, and so on…

my theory is that they havent found the cause of this disease because its invisible under the mircoscope, i think the problem is born out of negative thoughts.

My question is Can anyone relate to this? Did you have hard times before MS?and is there anyone on this form that can say “before MS life was goin great, all my plans were coming together…” If anyone can say that then that might dissprove my theory

I was happy before MS. No stress. Now I can’t move and I am not at all happy. So I would disagree with your theory.

I also dissagree with your theory.

My life was going very good,I didnt have a lot but I was happy.I was an outgoing helpfull person who ran around playing football with the children in our area.I helped friends decorate there homes,lay carpets,dig gardens.I did car mechanics.

Life was good and then little did I know at age 19 it was MS at the time I got a terrible headaches with blurred vision and numbness all down the left side.Not knowing at the time this was the onset of MS.This happened many times over the years BUT it still did not hold me back from enjoying my life,family and friends.The symptoms grew worse over the years and lasted longer and more and more symptoms became apparent.

So no I say stress or depression did NOT bring this on.My life even with the bad bits that happened over the years was still good and a happy life.

I see NO connection with stress being a cause of MS.

If you look up German New Medicine you will see another who thought sickness was often caused by stress. However there is likely not one single cause of any sickness, we also live in a very polluted world and that will be related to sickness as well. Let food be your medicine use to be a medical ethic but that’s largely gone now from the official scene. They also say being careful about who your parents are is very relevant to health, bit late for that now though.

There are many technique for exploring the stress issue for yourself to see how it relates to you, ‘emotional freedom technique’, ‘the journey’ to name but two. Why not explore them and others to see if it helps you.

If, Raymond, you had suggested that stress can lead to psychological illness, then there are many who would agree with you.

But, as for stress leading to MS, then I personally think not. In the several years leading up to the onset of my own MS, I was getting regular trips to the US at my University’s expense. I was able to visit France as often as I wanted. I had a nice short course running that brought in a modest income stream for my department. I could change my car whenever I wanted to. And, I was able to work part-time.

All the stressors were years behind me (say 10-20 years), such as burying my son, my mother, my favourite aunt, and several of my wife’s family.

This, of course, does not mean that your theory is wrong; but you would have to have some idea of the causal process involved before anyone would want to take the idea further.

Geoff

Hello Raymond,

Interseting thread.

I would consider myself to be fairly laid back but the year leading up to my diagnosis was awful; lots of different situations within my network that I had no control over. it go the point that I did not want to answer the phone, in case it was more bad news. The sadness and unfairness around me, in one year, was alian to me.

I was diagnosed in November and already have extensive damage. Is this a build up over the years or recent? No one will ever know.

So my condtion has surfaced after stressful times but I don’t know if it is because of that or just a coincidence.

Regards

Clare

Hi Raymond

I disagree with your theory.

I like positivity though, but being possitive or negative towards this disease does not alter this demyelinating disease, but being possitive helps you cope with the symptoms more.

I’ve been possitively screaming for years about the distructiveness of this horrid disease.

I hope you don’t have it as you are a young man and have so much life in front of you. I was diagnosed young and have led a full life, travelled and worked all over the world and although I’ve had relapses along the way I’ve coped with them. I’m in a wheelchair now. What I am trying to say that if you do get dianosed yes it is difficult but you can continue living your life and have fun and needent make it the focus of your life.

:-o Mary

I would ad though MS can cause depression or increase depression,also stress can make symptoms worsen.

what about thoughts? how do thoughts actually happen, i suppose there must be a physical presence in the brain, some kind of reaction, or do they come from something that is not matter. the brains a complex organ and i think we just dont know enough about it.

no, I don’t think that stress causes m.s. but having m.s. may make coping with stressful situations more difficult.

I don’t think you should be unpopular, I think there is very little doubt that stress is related to sickness, it is just not all the answer. If you look at the recent earthquake in Italy two people died of heart attacks, but then who would not be stressed if they thought they were going to die.

The mystery is why the stress seems to trigger off vastly different sicknesses.

Hiya Raymond

Yes-I think your are, in the main, correct but I havent the time or energy at the moment to reply as I want to-but I will this week-promise

Ellie x

Hi Raymond

I have always been a worrier but that goes for lots of people. I agree that negative thoughts don’t help but it’s a chicken and egg situation. Around 8 years ago, I was finding my mind was becoming very negative and I couldn’t shake myself out of it, decided to see the doctor as I thought it was caused by the menopause (which some of it may have been) but after dx 5 years ago, I soon realised that I had been having MS symptoms for over 20 years. It could of been what MS was doing to my brain that caused the depression. I have read many posts on this subject over the last few years and whilst I don’t think that stress causes MS, it makes MS worse. Quite a few people I know have MS in their family, I now think that the genetic connection is more prevelant than psychology.

I do, however know people who belive that thinking positive has helped their MS, then that goes for lots of illnesses including cancer.

Wendyx

We do get worse after dx. only because some of us (who try and ignore it) can no longer do so. I went on for 20 years oblivious to the disease and when I had symptoms (not being a hypocondriact type) I ignored the symptoms. I could no longer ignore them in 2007 as I became so ill. I have been told by someone who knows about these things that are many people are diagnosed on the mortuary table.

Wendyxx

I remain impartial. I think stress prolonged is not good for anyone’s immune system whether they have ms or not. I think looking at the mind and the body as a whole is crucial to a persons overall well being. coping strategies,sef management and looking at life in a positive way can only help either when living with a long term condition or having just had a dx. I think though a negative outlook or approach to an illness can contribute to more pain and frustration . we are all human though not perfect. I think past stresses if not dealt with ie grief, loss etc can hinder our ability to cope with future events in our lives. whether they be physical or emotional.

Quite agree; I’m sure that the body and mind are connected and I know alternative medicine does believe in this, this is why I use Alexander Technique and Tai chi for my pain and generally try and look after myself these days. I’m sure most of us would like to belive that if we think correctly then we will be physically well but these days thinking positive is becoming more of a problem, If you are able to do it and help your MS then good luck to you.

Wendyxx

[quote=david603

The mystery is why the stress seems to trigger off vastly different sicknesses.

[/quote]

The real mystery is why some people assume that the connection between stress and illness is one way.
This could have just as easily been stated as:
The mystery is why so many vastly different sicknesses seem to lead to stress.

YES, there is A relationship between illness and stress.
NO, we do not yet know which way the relationship works.

A lot of work was done in this area in the 1970s and '80s. The results tended to show that such things as “poor self esteem”, “low self-image”, “perceived locus of control”, “coping strategy style”, etc all have a major effect on the perception of stress. One definition of stress used during this period was “fear of the unknown”.

But then, some researchers will argue that there are at least three distinct forms of stress.

One thing is fairly sure:
If you assume that you have no control over what will happen to you, then you are likely to feel more stressed about your situation. If you make even the smallest effort to influence your situation (change your meds, change your diet, do more exercise, etc) then you will believe that you have more control and will feel less stressed by it.

Geoff

Having read several books on the subject I would suggest there is expert opinion that stress can trigger of sickness. Are those experts correct, I personal think so but can not prove it.

Clearly however sickness causes stress and not just to the person who is sick.

In an absolute sense I do not think we the human race know anything for certain, science certainties are routinely overturned by new discoveries and so they should be.

However we do have to do something when faced with life’s challenges and seeking expert opinion and making decisions about which expert opinion you trust and follow are key issues in such a process.

There are many ways of trying to address the stress issue of sickness, some people would seem to find them helpful others would not.

The real mystery is why some people assume that the connection between stress and illness is one way.
This could have just as easily been stated as:
The mystery is why so many vastly different sicknesses seem to lead to stress.

YES, there is A relationship between illness and stress.
NO, we do not yet know which way the relationship works.

A lot of work was done in this area in the 1970s and '80s. The results tended to show that such things as “poor self esteem”, “low self-image”, “perceived locus of control”, “coping strategy style”, etc all have a major effect on the perception of stress. One definition of stress used during this period was “fear of the unknown”.

But then, some researchers will argue that there are at least three distinct forms of stress.

One thing is fairly sure:
If you assume that you have no control over what will happen to you, then you are likely to feel more stressed about your situation. If you make even the smallest effort to influence your situation (change your meds, change your diet, do more exercise, etc) then you will believe that you have more control and will feel less stressed by it.

Geoff

[/quote]

I think there’s a lot of truth in this.

Well before I was diagnosed with MS, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. But looking back, I don’t think the anxiety and depression were unconnected.

I was ill, but didn’t know it. So the overall effect on me was a general perception that things weren’t “as good as they used to be”, that I myself wasn’t as good at things as I used to be, and that everything was getting harder.

Of course, if you sense all this to be the case, but have no explanation as to why, it’s bound to be anxiety-making and depressing.

So I think I got depressed because I was already ill, and not the other way round.

Tina

I was ill, but didn’t know it. So the overall effect on me was a general perception that things weren’t “as good as they used to be”, that I myself wasn’t as good at things as I used to be, and that everything was getting harder.

Of course, if you sense all this to be the case, but have no explanation as to why, it’s bound to be anxiety-making and depressing.

So I think I got depressed because I was already ill, and not the other way round.

Tina

[/quote]

Couldn’t have put it better Tina, I was making so many mistakes and my self esteem was dwindling, this made me very low and my stress levels were so high I ended up having a mini breakdown. I could no longer ignore the fact that I had something wrong with me; as there was so much evidence.

Wendyx