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Living with Multiple Sclerosis

The Virginia Mason multiple sclerosis (MS) team assists patients with:

  • Information and referral to community resources
  • Helping patients and families develop plans for continuity of care, whether in the home or a residential setting
  • Counseling to help patients and their families cope with the emotional, social and economic stresses of MS
  • Information on medical insurance and disability options

The most important step patients can take after diagnosis is to get educated about MS and the options available for coping with the disease. Taking control early helps to manage stress and maintain a more positive outlook on the future. It can help to remember that a diagnosis of MS doesn't define a person, but represents a challenge along life's course. Some things that may help in coping with MS include:

  • Finding a support group — Support groups, including online communities, can be very useful connections for those facing different aspects of an MS diagnosis. They can provide a safe environment for sharing personal experiences and strategies for dealing with the disease. Consider support groups sources either in-person or online as below:
     
  • Counseling — Sometimes issues arise that are better addressed with a mental health practitioner one-on-one. This is especially important if depression may be a factor. 
     
  • Taking time for self-care — Getting enough rest, eating healthy foods and getting a handle on stress are more important than ever to maintain a sense of well-being.
     
  • Sharing what's going on with friends and family — When there's little or no physical disability present, family life may be relatively unchanged. But there may come a time when choosing activities that are less physically demanding will be necessary. It helps to explain to loved ones how MS affects you, since some symptoms of MS will not be apparent to others.

Related Information

Staying Well with Multiple Sclerosis