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Society sponsors consensus statement on depression and MS.

The words "depressed" and "depression" are used so casually in everyday conversation that their meaning has become murky. True clinical depression is a disorder that affects from 5% to 20% of Americans during their lifetime. People with MS are at even higher risk. Almost 50% of people with MS will experience mild to severe depression at some point. And it can be lethal. One study found that the risk of suicide was 7.5 times higher among people with MS than the general population.

The Society's New York City Chapter responded to this by convening a panel of experts. They drafted a consensus statement to outline dearly the best ways to evaluate and treat depression associated with MS. The Goldman Consensus Group, chaired by Dr. Randolph B. Schiffer, published its findings in the November 2005 issue of Multiple Sclerosis.

The Goldman Consensus Statement

The group agreed that current therapies are generally effective, but depression may be seriously under-diagnosed. It can be missed because both MS and depression often cause the same symptoms: fatigue and problems with thinking or concentration.

The group recommends that professionals who routinely care for people with MS should institute regular screening to identify depression, using tests such as the Beck Depression Inventory.

Anyone who meets the criteria for depression and especially anyone who talks about having suicidal thoughts should immediately be assessed and considered for treatment.

The group favored integrating talk therapy and drag therapy as needed. The group also strongly encouraged more research into causes, assessment, and treatment.

To get a professional evaluation for depression by a physician and/or mental-health professional, call 1-800-FIGHT-MS for referrals from your chapter office.

Health-care professionals can get a copy of the Goldman Consensus Statement through the Society's Professional Resource Center by e-mailing health
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Title Annotation:national MS society
Publication:Inside MS
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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