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Recognizing and Treating Common Psychiatric Disorders in Multiple Sclerosis

Wilken, Jeffrey A. PhD*†; Sullivan, Cynthia PhD*†

doi: 10.1097/NRL.0b013e31806dc2e8
Review Article

Background: The rate of depression and other psychiatric disorders is greater in multiple sclerosis (MS) than in other chronic conditions or neurologic diseases. This means that clinical neurologists seeing MS patients will frequently be engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric distress.

Review Summary: This review provides a summary of what is known about psychiatric dysfunction in MS. It offers information about the current views on the link between various psychiatric disorders and MS. More important, it offers suggestions on how the knowledge from existing research can be integrated into real-world practice.

Conclusion: Clinicians need to understand the factors that influence the development of psychiatric disorders in MS, the relationship between disease-modifying therapies and psychiatric distress, and the issues surrounding the treatment of psychiatric conditions in MS. Thorough knowledge of psychiatric dysfunction and MS will allow the clinician to design an effective treatment regimen that helps patients cope with their disease.

From the *Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Neurology, Washington, District of Columbia; and †Neuropsychology Associates of Fairfax, Fairfax, Virginia.

Reprints: Jeffrey A. Wilken, PhD, Neuropsychology Associates of Fairfax, 3020 Hamaker Court, Suite 103, Fairfax, VA 22031. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.