Everyone experiences mood swings or “moodiness” from time to time. But some people experience rapid, uncontrollable changes as one of the emotional symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). You may hear something negative and start laughing, or begin crying when you actually feel happy.
Some people diagnosed with MS also experience pseudobulbar affect (PBA), a condition in which a person bursts into tears or laughter without any situational or emotional trigger. Changes in mood can also happen again as symptoms change, and as relapses or remissions occur.
These emotional reactions might seem to come out of nowhere and may not be proportionate to the situation that triggered them. Emotional reactions may also feel out of control — like you cannot stop them or like your emotions are taking over your life. Understanding your mood changes and what you can do to improve the situation can help you feel better and improve your quality of life dramatically.
Effects of Mood Changes With MS
MS-related mood swings can be challenging. These emotional changes can make relationships with family members and friends difficult. Sometimes, these new emotional challenges can feel overwhelming and discouraging. It can feel as though your mood swings are out of your control.
Most people with multiple sclerosis do not enjoy their mood swings — but they do learn how to live with them. Some people with MS accept that mood swings may come as part of the diagnosis and are reassured to know they are not being unreasonable.
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