Patient Blogs | Multiple Sclerosis
Stress & Multiple Sclerosis
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Over the past 2 decades, I have frequently wondered what caused my autoimmunity and created what is known as multiple sclerosis. Perhaps many of the readers ask the same question. It is frequently said that there is no known cause, but there are risk factors that are associated with the development of this autoimmune condition. One that is frequently studied and debated is stress.

Stress is a process in which an environmental trigger or stressor occurs and the demands of which exceed the coping capacity of the individual, resulting in psychological or biological damage. Consequently, it is critical to examine the environmental stressors, the psychological response, and the consequences.

I strongly believe the daily stress that one endures in daily living is a risk factor associated with autoimmune conditions. Personally, I endured stress as the chief of the Anesthesiology Department in a major metropolitan hospital in my professional career when symptoms began to appear. Stresses needed to be handled in order to survive and do a good job.

It is suggested that psychological, social, and biological factors may be involved in this relationship, and low social support has been implicated as aggravating the relationship between stress and exacerbation of the condition.

I seriously considered the stress I was enduring in my career and went into retirement 22 years ago. Early retirement was not an easy pathway for me to follow as I really enjoyed the challenge of my career to a degree, but I had to get over my adrenaline addiction and create another way of living with multiple sclerosis. I'm grateful that I had the loving support of my family. Fortunately, and gratefully, I'm still able to contribute to community and to those I love.

Creating awareness of stress factors in the presence of multiple sclerosis is imperative to find support and recognize that there will be days that are not as easy to handle as others and avoid as many pitfalls of stresses in our journey. Reach out for support, and do not deny yourself a better quality of life! This is my wish for you!

To connect with other people living with multiple sclerosis join our MS Facebook Support Group.



Photo Credit: Catherine McQueen / Moment via Getty Images

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Cynthia Guy, MD

Cynthia Guy, MD

Diagnosed since 2000

Cynthia Guy, MD, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000. She transitioned from her career as an anesthesiologist to become a speaker, researcher, and author, releasing her book, Love Yourself Healthy, in 2014. Guy has been an active advocate for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Alzheimer's Association and, at 81, is still actively promoting healthy living with her educational site on brain matters. 

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