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ALS – Stress

November 17, 2021


While stress doesn’t seem to be a predisposing factor in someone developing ALS, it certainly comes into play when someone has been diagnosed with it. ALS is a progressive disease. People with ALS will develop more and more disabling symptoms as time goes on – that causes a significant amount of stress. People who manage their stress well, who have adapted well to the changing circumstances, and who have a good social support system make informed timely decisions about their disease and its management. The ability to deal effectively with stress after being diagnosed with ALS involves focusing on positive, constructive approaches to managing this disease. That gives them the best chance at survival and a better quality of life. While ALS is caused by degeneration of motor neurons, which results in weakness of muscles, that causes problems throughout every system in the body. Therefore, people who attend multidisciplinary ALS clinics have more resources at their disposal and more support compared to someone who just sees one provider. They experience enhanced survival as compared to those going to a single practitioner’s office for care. ALS is not something that any patient can take on by themselves. They need a support system – a team to help them take care of their day to day, to help them with their activities of daily living and to help support them emotionally and mentally. Aside from having a multidisciplinary team and a support system to help with the stresses of having ALS, other strategies needs to be implemented in helping alleviate stress. Some things that may be beneficial to helping patients with ALS manage their stress include regular exercises with the physical therapist, meditation, finding hobbies and activities that they enjoy engaging in, and having open realistic discussions about the progression of disease. Stress usually makes dealing with any difficult situation worse. Helping people with ALS find effective coping skills for dealing with the disease will have a significant benefit on their life.

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