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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Helping Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Patients Manage Their Psychosocial and Cognitive Symptoms

by Darcy Cox, PsyD, RPsych, ABPP-CN 4 CE Credits

This course reviews the etiology, epidemiology, and presentation of cognitive and psychological symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS), a disabling autoimmune disorder impacting 400,000 patients in the United States.  The psychological symptoms associated with MS can be significant, with roughly half of patients experiencing cognitive dysfunction secondary to the disease, and a point-prevalence rate of 20% for major depressive episodes. Depression, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, and physical disability all contribute to reduced quality-of-life in patients with MS, and need to be effectively managed by the patient and medical treatment teams. Treatment strategies for these symptoms, including behavioral, pharmacological, and lifestyle interventions are reviewed.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours, and NYSED CE credit.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction
  • MS: The Three Major Disease Courses
  • Medical Regimens Associated with MS
  • The Picture of Depression in MS
  • Diagnosis and Assessment of Depression
  • Treatment of Depression in the MS Context
  • Other Mood Disorders in the MS Context
  • Diagnosis and Assessment of Cognitive Deficits Associated with MS
  • Treatment of Cognitive Dysfunction in MS Patients
  • Depression and Cognition Deficits: The MS Interaction
  • Impact on Family and Caregivers
  • Summary
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Identify the three major disease courses within the MS context.
  • Discuss the presentation, course, and risk for two concomitant psychological symptoms of MS, namely major depressive disorder and cognitive disorders.
  • Describe the two recommended assessment strategies associated with diagnosing depression and cognitive dysfunction in this population.
  • Identify three prominent treatment approaches (i.e., psychopharmacological, behavioral, and lifestyle changes) to facilitate improved quality of life for patients with MS.