Group Therapy Helps MS Patients Cope With Depression

Providing emotional support through group therapy to MS patients may help improve their quality of life and help them cope up with depression. This was discovered in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. The said study was funded by the MS Society.

Depression is commonly seen in people who suffer from MS. There have been previous studies that suggest depression can lead to MS sufferers failing to take their medicine and generally lead a reduced quality of life. By trying to reduce the incidence of depression and anxiety as a result of suffering from MS, researchers believe that people afflicted by the disorder can live a better quality of life. Group psychological therapies provide a good alternative.

In the said study, the researchers from the University of Nottingham recruited MS patients who were being checked in clinics run by the Nottingham university Hospitals NHS Trust. Referrals made by specialist MS nurses were also included as well as those who answered in ad placements made by the MS Society in several publications.

The participants were randomly selected and divided into two groups composed of 70 people each. The participants were also made to complete questionnaires regarding how MS may have affected their daily lives and the extent of which they felt more in control of it. During the study, one of the groups were provided with the usual MS care and were put on a waiting list to receive group therapy at the end of the study.

The other group, aside from the usual MS treatment, also attended a course composed of 6 two hour sessions of group therapy of 8 participants at a time. Each of the sessions were conducted by a research psychologist and supervised by a clinical psychologist experienced in working with MS patients. The sessions focused on various topics which include worry, gloom and relationships. The session was followed up with practical exercises on how to cope with emotional problems along with some group discussion.

The researchers have found out that the MS patients who attended the group sessions faced fewer problems regarding anxiety and depression. This further led to a positive impact on their daily lives despite of MS and a more improved quality of life. The next stage of the said study is to determine whether the group therapy would be equally work well in other centers through a larger study.


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