Stress & Cognitive Function.
Psychological stress can affect a person’s cognitive abilities, in the short term (e.g., when an individual’s thoughts are pre-occupied with an argument or problem that happened earlier in the day resulting in reduced ability to concentrate) as well as over the long term, where the intrusive thoughts creep in and the problem simply does not go away and festers, which in turn can lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health disabilities.
Emotional and cognitive changes
The emotional and cognitive effects are often the greatest challenges. Some of the most common symptoms can be hidden from plain sight. These changes can affect the way people feel about themselves and alter their cognitive functions. For many, the emotional and cognitive effects represent the greatest challenges.
Uncertainty, stress, and anxiety, depression are the most common disorders a person can experience.
A person with an autoimmune neurological disease such as MS or Cerebellar Atrophy may grieve for their life before they were diagnosed with a disorder. Other emotional changes that may occur include clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and mood swings. All of these are more common among people with MS than in the general population. Depression and bipolar disorder require professional attention and the use of effective treatments.
Emotional lability appears to be more common, and possibly more severe, in people with MS and Mental Health Disorders. This may include frequent mood changes, for example from happy to sad to angry.
It is believed that the causes are the extra stress brought on by MS as well as neurological changes. Uncontrollable laughing and crying is a disorder affecting a small proportion of people with MS, and it is thought to be caused by MS-related changes in the brain.
Having MS can affect self-esteem. There may be times when it’s difficult to do everything a person is used to doing, or they may have to do things differently. Focusing too much on the negative aspects can feel overwhelming.
Cognition refers to the “higher” brain functions such as memory and reasoning. About half of all people with MS will not experience any cognitive changes, but for others, the most commonly affected aspects of cognition are:
Attention and concentration
Speed of information processing
Abstract reasoning and problem solving
Studies have shown according to author Dr. Sudha Seshadri, professor of neurology at UT Health San Antonio explains that higher levels of stress translate into raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood. A raised level of cortisol in the blood can predict brain size, function, and also the performance of the individual when faced with cognitive tests. She said, “We found memory loss and brain shrinkage in relatively young people long before any symptoms could be seen.” It’s never too early to be mindful of reducing stress,” she added. The lead author, Dr. Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins also said that symptoms of stress-related memory loss and brain damage may not be evident until much damage has already been done.
Cerebellar Atrophy & Stress.
The cerebellum is connected with stress-related brain areas and expresses the machinery required to process stress-related neurochemical mediators. Surprisingly, it is not regarded as a substrate of stress-related behavioral alterations, despite numerous studies that show cerebellar responsivity to stress.
Notes From The Editor.
“I suffer from cognitive impairment, I lose my balance, jumble my words, and have memory loss. The condition I have is cerebellar atrophy. I was diagnosed with it around 2011”.
The more stressed I am the less I want to do. I sometimes have to force myself to churn the wheel for another day.
I suffer from clinical depression and have been diagnosed with this over 30 years ago. There are days that I have to fight with my thoughts in order to get through the day.
Recently with the price hikes, my depression is getting worse. I have my voice mail turned off and my phone is on airplane mode constantly. I cannot deal with talking to people over the phone. To counteract this I much prefer email correspondence. I am not too good with letters especially forms because of my OCD, this is something else I suffer with.
Having people pity me and say things “Awh Bless” or “Poor You”, really gets my back up. It is condescending. Furthermore, people are quick to judge or assume.
The difference between someone who is self-employed and someone who is employed is that the employed person is a slave to their employer and has a guaranteed wage, whilst the self-employed do not have a guaranteed income stream. A disabled person may choose to work for themselves as they do not have the same amount of pressure or obstacles to overcome.
I spoke with a British Gas customer rep the other day and she started asking questions, such as do I have a carer, and when I said no, I could hear her brain ticking and assuming that I am making things up about my illness. I tried explaining if I get stressed my mental state shuts down and I go into a whirl of depression. I continued to say that yanking my gas bill from £65 per month to £90 and a further hike to £138 was simply unacceptable. I simply cannot get this sort of money out of my a##e. I ended by saying I won’t be able to work because I cannot cope with the stress this is causing me. Now wait for the assuming bit she replied “what do you mean you will not be able to work, what do you do”? I said “I am the editor of “Disability UK Journal”. There was silence and then her attitude changed.
“A person who is self-employed and becomes unwell cannot function or keep their business running. So if they do not work no money comes in”.
“Just because I run this disability journal does not mean I am rolling around in money. Never assume anything”!
“I am not a charity and I have no funding, I simply rely on Advertising & Marketing Revenue”.
“Never assume because someone is working, they are financially secure or they do not have disabilities, or if they have they must not be all there especially when they have mental health disorders”.
There is so much stigma attached to disabilities with small-minded people judging and assuming things. Just because someone may have a disability does not make them less capable than the next person (depending on certain factors and disabilities of course), they may in fact do a better job.
“A disabled person can be more intelligent than you, so never assume that they are not”.
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