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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the spinal cord and body. Early MS symptoms include weakness, tingling, numbness, and blurred vision. Other signs are muscle stiffness, thinking problems, and urinary problems. Effective treatment can relieve MS symptoms and delay disease progression
Research has shown that people with Multiple Sclerosis make greater improvements while under the care of experienced clinicians within a specialist Multiple Sclerosis service. The American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology is the first of its kind in the UAE to offer specialist, coordinated multidisciplinary management of MS, with patients able to access a range of services and treatments tailored specifically to their individual needs.
To date, there is no definitive single laboratory test to confirm Multiple Sclerosis, therefore a confirmed diagnosis requires a comprehensive evaluation by a Neurologist with expertise in the field of MS. At the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology we have some of the region’s leading Neurologists able to provide premier treatment and individualized care.
Physiotherapy can help alleviate some of the common symptoms of MS, such as weakness, muscle spasms, fatigue and balance impairment. Following a full physical evaluation, your MS Physiotherapist will discuss any findings and work together with you to develop an individualized physiotherapy program to address any difficulties. In Physiotherapy, we work towards goals which are important to you, for example reducing pain caused by muscle spasms or being able to return to playing golf following a relapse.
An Occupational Therapist can assess your ability to perform a wide variety of daily tasks, such as getting dressed in the morning or paying complicated bills. In order to do this, they can evaluate both your physical ability as well as your understanding and memory. If you are having difficulty with any daily tasks either at home or at work, the MS Occupational Therapists can provide exercises and techniques to make things a little easier. They can also suggest equipment or adaptations to your home to enable to you to remain independent.
Speech and Language Therapy
Occasionally with MS, people can have problems with language or the ability to swallow food and water. Language difficulties include:
Our MS Speech and Language Therapist can complete a full language assessment and provide a tailored treatment program to help overcome some of these difficulties.
Sometimes people with MS experience difficulty swallowing food or water. You might notice that it takes a lot of effort to swallow food, or that you cough after eating or drinking. You might even notice that you have regular chest infections and are not sure why. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see our MS Speech and Language Therapist for an assessment of your swallowing.
Neuropsychology is a highly specialist area of Psychology used to evaluate the functioning of the brain. Neuropsychological assessments or “brain checks” use pen and paper or computerized tests that focus on a patients thinking abilities in terms of attention, memory, planning/organization, language, perception, motor skills, personality and mood. Neuropsychological assessment can identify some changes in the brain before they appear on MRI, MRA or CT scans so accurate treatment can be applied before problems get worse.
Psychiatry and Psychology
It’s not unusual to experience depression, stress or anxiety when you have MS. In fact, research has shown that major depression or anxiety effects up to 20% of people with MS living in the UAE. Every patient with Multiple Sclerosis at the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology will be offered a mental health screen followed by referral to a dedicated Psychiatrist or Psychologist where appropriate. Psychiatrists can offer medications to treat anxiety or depression, or they can refer you to a Psychologist for talking therapy and coping strategies.
It is well known that following a healthy, balanced diet can help alleviate some of the symptoms of MS and improve overall quality of life. In addition to this, there are certain vitamins and minerals which are particularly helpful in the management of MS, as well as some which you should restrict. Our MS dietician can complete a full nutritional and body mass assessment to provide an individualized nutritional program, specific to your personal and medical needs.
The American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology have a dedicated coordinator to help ensure all members of the team are working towards goals which are important to the patient. The coordinator in an MS specialist who can meet with you and your family members to discuss any questions you have about the disease, or concerns about your treatment. The coordinator will also follow your overall progress at the center and check in with you regularly to make sure you are able to access all services appropriate to you.
Support Groups and Educational Programs
The American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology host regular support groups and education sessions which aim to help people share information, personal experiences and tips for coping with MS. The sessions also involve a presentation from one of MS specialists around a number of different topics, such as “medications” or “diet and nutrition”. People who attend the group sessions feel empowered and more self-confident in coping with challenges.
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