Hello everyone! I'm 24 and was dx with RRMS in spring of this year. I started on Avonex soon after. My lesions and I are doing well, we fight sometimes and they are a little inconsiderate but all in all we have a mutual understanding that we are in this together and we have to get along. [grin]
I was dx (before I was dx with MS) with Formal Thought Disorder and prescribed Risperdol and Paxil. I have a couple schools of thought on mental illness in general, but I basically think it can be willed away (I know, I know - I'm ready to take the berating for that). So that is what I thought when this dx came down. I didn't really take my meds as I figured my "crazies" are what makes me who I am anyway, and we've made it this far - let's just leave them there.
So I get the dx of MS and I basically have the same mentality. It's just going to be incidental - I'm going to be proactive and take care of it, but I know I'm not ever going to be 100% - and that's okay.
I complained to my Neuro of some fatigue (or so I though). He gave me some Provigil, which is nice and seems to work. It made me able to focus, but I still felt there was something more afoot. I tell him again about my previous mental dx and my concerns with that dx actually being true or was that some precursor to MS.......he basically said nothing and now he and I are at a standstill. He keeps wanting me to try various antidepressants, which I refuse to do.
Okay - so that was a ramble. My question is is it even worth pursuing any mental health/psychological issues since I have MS? Considering that there is already something going on up there - should I just accept the "crazies"? I'm not one of those "oh, I'm so depressed - give me Prozac" people. But this is something different. This is altered perception, voices, very odd things that I have had before I was MSy.
Any opinions or information would be most appreciated.
These are some random thoughts, not necessarily in any order.
1) Some mental illnesses are very real, a chemical imbalance in the brain (and system). If indeed you have a legitimate mental ILLNESS (and not just a feeling down, or low-level anxiety) it is not something you can just "will away". "I'll eat this pound of chocolate and I'll feel better" -- which is what I generally do.
While I've been involved with people with disabilities for a long time -- more than 30 years -- I've not heard of "formal thought disorder", but I HAVE dealt with people that have "altered perception, hear voices, "very odd things" going on in their heads. And in most cases, these are indeed caused by a chemical imbalance in their brains, treatable by medications. Not everyone responds to meds in the same way; some work better than others, and sometimes it's a matter of trial and error to get the right combination to work for a patient.
2) Not all mental illnesses can be called "depression". Some drugs specifically designed to help with depression can also treat other mental illnesses, but not all of them will. But the fact that the doctor is suggesting a drug to treat depression may...or may not..be a good choice.
3) Being diagnosed with a chronic illness (like MS) can bring about it's own feelings of sadness, anger, grief, anxiety -- which sometimes can lead to a chemical imbalance in the brain, causing medical depression. But not always. If a person with MS starts to feel these things and can't "will them away" (with my infamous box of chocolates, for example), he/she should seek medical help, because it may be a medical/chemical imbalance-based depression that has started.
4) Some of the disease-modifying drugs used to treat MS -- any that are interferon based, like Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif -- can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain, which can lead to depression. So if a person starts one of those and finds him/herself feeling low, or suicidal, seek medical help.
5) Lots of people get diagnosed with all sorts of things that turn out to be something else, later on, when more definitive symptoms arise. I've not heard of anyone being diagnosed with "formal thought disorder", or who talks about "hearing voices" later being diagnosed with MS. I have heard of people being diagnosed with depression who then develop some of the typical symptoms of MS (like the lesions) and then get diagnosed, and it is suggested that the depression was really a precursor to MS. If I were you, I'd probably want to pursue that, just in case..
if indeed the mental health issues are somehow tied to a later diagnosis of MS. But if it were me, I'd probably take my doctor's advice and go on the meds, and see if that doesn't help.
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....