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 can agree and disagree with you - my MS was diagnosed after I went blind in one eye through optic neuritis, just after my grandmother, who I was very close to, died. However, I have had minor symptoms since I was 12 years old, and these were not related to stressful incidents. Also, my husband died, uninsured, just over 2 years ago, and I expected the MS to hit me like a sack of bricks at speed, but it didn’t - I was under a hell of a lot of stress then - my husband had died, I had to sell the house, deal with everything, etc, etc, etc. I know that stress is a trigger for relapses a lot of the time for me (and a lot of other people), but I’m not sure that it forms part of the cause.

Luisa x

Hello Raymond,

I had an extremely stressful life before I developed MS, but I do not believe that the two are totally intertwined, as I have been in stress, and not suffered with MS symptoms, and often had clanging relapses when my life was in fact very stable and trouble free. I am afraid that the ups and downs occur in everything we are part of.


yeah so i think its fair to say that linseys post directly contradicts my theory, but thats fine,now i dont need to wonder about it. Im just trying to face up to whatevers doin this to me, its like fighting an invisible monster. Im 23 i just want a fair crack at life. I suppose i just feel like if these researchers and doctors have been workin on it for all these years then they must be missin the point, i mean c’mon theres got to be somethin else goin on here

Hi Raymond,

I don’t blame you one little bit for feeling frustrated about the MS, if that is indeed what you have. Everyone on this forum is in the same position. But one good thing about being diagnosed at the moment, if indeed you are, is that there are so many irons in the fire with the possibility of new treatments. All we can do is try and do all we can to aid our condition - look after yourself, and avoid stress like the plague. If ever you want to get rid of some stress, we are all here as sounding boards.

Take care,


(I have had MS since I was 17)

hi sunset yes i live in glasgow. I know the mechanics of the beast but as i understand it, thats just the process it uses to damage the body, for me thats not its real identity. Im the first person in my family ever to have come across neurological problems, as a scotsman who likes a drink and the odd kebab i was looking forward to a more traditional disease like heart disease or liver sclerosis which would most likely strike later in life when all the funs been had. Im trying to tap into the subliminal thoughts of people which i know doesnt make any sense, i think im a worrier, too many thoughts are rollin around my head and most of them are not good, and thats what i think causes damage to some extent

Hi Raymond,

I won’t say things were going swimmingly before I was diagnosed; I’d lost my father too.

BUT, looking back, I’d had symptoms for ages (years, probably) before that - including during good times too!

So I don’t think bereavement caused it at all. The added stress of bereavement may have combined with my then undiagnosed illness, to make symptoms worse. But I don’t believe it was the root cause. Many health problems get worse with stress - and with patterns that may accompany it, such as not eating well, not sleeping well, and so on… But, as Luisa says, that’s not quite the same as it being the cause.

We know that the mechanism of MS is physical damage to the central nervous system - damage that can be seen on scan. So it’s definitely not a psychological illness. There’s no evidence you can cause this physical damage - or control it in any way - by how you think or feel. Symptoms, I think, can be influenced by mood - we know that perception of pain, for example, can change depending on how we feel, and meditation or hypnotherapy for pain relief is moderately effective for some people. But this doesn’t mean it’s addressing the actual illness - only how we interpret the experience.

I don’t think the theory that serious illness is caused by “wrong thinking” is very helpful at all, for most people. It’s tough enough being ill, without worrying that we caused it ourselves. Especially when there’s absolutely NO scientific evidence to back it up.

It’s absolutely normal, by the way, to wonder: “What did I do?” But any decent doctor or neuro will tell you: “Nothing. It wasn’t your fault.”


yeah im angry about and i just want something to blame it on even if its myself, but thats part of the thinking that maybe if its somethin i done then maybe it can be undone. Part of my whole clinging on for dear life chapter in my story so far. I understand this but im just not ready to accept it yet, deep down i think i will realise one day that its not my fault and theres very little i can do about it, but thats a while away yet. Just like bouncing my ideas off people

hi raymond

i enjoyed rude health until my late 40’s when ms came up and smacked me round the head.

i did have a lot of stress in my life. my relationship with my husband was going through a rocky period, my job which i loved had morphed into something completely different and my nephew got arrested and sent to prison.

trying to help my sister cope with this led me to drink quite heavily - a bottle of wine helped her to cope and helped me to provide a shoulder for her to cry on.

then to top the lot off, i stupidly decided to decorate 2 rooms in the week before christmas. i put myself under pressure to finish them before christmas. that’s when my balance started to go haywire and my hands started to hurt and feel like i had boxing gloves on.

so in january (2008) i went to my gp who sent me to see a neurologist. the mri showed lesions and i was told it was probably ms. i carried on working until september, then went on sick leave. i got my diagnosis in october and eventually got medical retirement.

i’ve never been a depressed person but probably tended to be a stress head.

now i avoid stress like the plague. i don’t go to places that cause me stress and don’t see people who cause me stress.

i was lucky enough to have had good health for nearly 50 years, but it p*sses me off when i still want to go to gigs or glastonbury. i know my limits now.

take care

love carole xx

yous have made me feel a wee bit better, im goin to get a shower (smell like a s**t factory) and then im goin out gettin smashed, cheers x:)

why oh why did my post appear 3 times?

If having a rough time caused MS, at least half the population would have it. And if feeling a bit down about bad luck and trouble caused MS, pretty much everybody would.

Don’t start trying to put the blame on you. Whatever is the matter with you, it isn’t going to be something you have ‘earned’ through decades of enjoying yourself! As you say, those things usually come MUCH later, and you have plenty of good times to fit in between now and then.



Nope - my life was the best it had been in a long time.