Assessment and treatment of psychiatric distress, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, and pain in multiple sclerosis: Survey of members of the consortium of multiple sclerosis centers

Elizabeth S. Gromisch, Laura C. Schairer, Eliana Pasternak, Stella H. Kim, Frederick W. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Psychiatric distress (depression and anxiety), sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, and pain are frequent comorbidities in multiple sclerosis (MS) that have the potential to interfere with functioning and quality of life. Often, patients benefit from a combination of medical and psychotherapeutic interventions. However, the literature suggests that many of these issues have been underdiagnosed or undertreated. To better understand current practices, this study aimed to gain a multidisciplinary perspective on how MS providers assess and treat these five problems. Methods: An online questionnaire was completed by 42 members of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers on their assessment procedures, treatment recommendations, and prevalence rates of these issues in their practices. Results: More than 80% of participants reported routinely assessing for depression, anxiety, sleep, and pain, but only slightly more than half ask about sexual dysfunction. Most of these health-care providers endorsed using a general question in their assessments and recommending a pharmaceutical intervention. Conclusions: Health-care providers are aware of the prevalence of these issues in their patients with MS. Promoting the use of validated screening measures and increased research on psychotherapeutic interventions for sleep and pain are two potential avenues for improving patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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