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It's Not All in Your Head: Anxiety, Depression, Mood Swings, and Multiple Sclerosis [Paperback]

Patricia Farrell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Jan. 11 2011
One of the greatest challenges people face when dealing with an unpredictable disease such as Multiple Sclerosis is learning to overcome the psychological burden of not knowing what each day will bring. MS is a true roller coaster of emotions and dealing with these feelings is a critical issue for people living with the disease. According to WebMD, symptoms of depression severe enough to warrant medical intervention affect up to half of all people living with MS.

It's Not All in Your Headis a cognitive-behavioral approach to overcoming the depression, anxiety,and stress that goes hand-in-hand with MS. Dr. Farrell helps individuals and their families develop a better understanding of the effects that MS has on mood levels and anxiety and offers a plan of simple remediation in a self-help format.

It's Not All in Your Headshows that:

  • MS patients' depression and anxiety can be related to their medical condition
  • Exercise can promote growth in brain connections and help alleviate depression
  • Pain severity in MS can be lessenedthrough stemming anxiety
  • Social involvement is key to maintaining mental and physical health

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About the Author

. Her website is a resource for consumers, students, and healthcare professionals seeking information on health, education, and related issues.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Augusta
Format:Paperback
For probably 10 years I have resisted believing that my depression and anxiety was linked to MS. I thought it was because I was weak. When the cognitive aspects of MS became more pronounced and I had to leave work, I started reading more about MS and this book was amazing. I recommend it for both MS patients, and friends and families of MS patients. It will be very informative and provide much needed reassurance and hope.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource, and Not Just for Those With MS Jan. 6 2011
By Tally Ho - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book, whether or not you have MS or have a loved one with MS. I admit, if I hadn't already been a fan of Dr. Farrell's first book, "How to Be Your Own Therapist," I might not have read this book because of the title.

Yes, you will learn a great deal more about MS, follow some interesting personal stories, and find portions that are just directed toward people with this disease. But you will also learn more about yourself, especially if you have any sort of chronic illness or condition. As a person with chronic illness and chronic pain myself, I found this book to be a blessing!

Dr. Farrell calls anxiety and depression the "ugly twins" and she is absolutely right on target. Almost anyone (chronic condition or not) could benefit from reading this chapter. She also has self-help techniques, coping strategies, how to handle guilt, and an entire chapter devoted to improving memory.

Each chapter ends with further reading options for you to delve deeper if you so desire. Don't miss the "Qaulity of Life" questionnaire in the back, along with the exercise chart. The possible protective and healing qualities of exercise are explored in this book, too. That's another reason that I think it's unfair to just think of this book as only helpful for folks with MS.

People who do have MS will find the larger font size (compared to a typical paperback) and good contrast provides ease of reading if you have visual challenges. The larger book size is also easier to hold and handle.

Although the text cites many scholarly studies, Dr. Farrell breaks them down into bite size nuggets and helps clarify and illuminate them so it's not dry or intimidating. If you are medical professional like I am (I'm an RN), you will feel confident in the sources she draws her material from.

Prepare to not only gain a better understanding, but feel empowered. As Dr. Farrell says in the book, "Okay, we can do this." After reading "It's Not All in Your Head," I believe she is exactly right.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for Everyone... June 5 2011
By Tammy Quasius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Saying that there is something for everyone in this book is not just a title for a book review, it is really an important point. Thats because MS is such a variable disease, so what might work for one person may not mean anything to another. As a result, if you happen to be a person living with MS, it is very easy to feel like no one at all understands you- each experience is so unique. HOWEVER, this book includes many different profiles of individuals at different ages, who have different severities of disease, different lifestyles etc. It covers many different aspects of people living with MS, including the real life negatives and some very inspirational positives. It is relatable if you yourself are living specifically with MS, and probably if you happen to be living with many other chronic illnesses. It does NOT candy-coat the difficulties, especially at various times during the illness. Rather, it presents the individuals who are dealt these life-changing issues and describes their struggles and triumphs, in the ever changing face of MS. The real people described in the book are relatable, helping people living with MS feel validated and understood.

Another important aspects of this book is it really is a reference guide as well, providing practical and easy to use tools to help anyone living with a chronic illness and the anxiety, depression and mood swings that often accompany them. There are several tools to help people evaluate their status and plan strategies to compensate for the effects and loss associated with their condition.

I have found it difficult to explain the cognitive problems I have due to MS...many people think I just forget where I put my keys, and try to be good intentioned by saying they do that too. Even my family and friends sometimes have a hard time understanding my limitations and the resulting frustrations. Dr. Farrell's book is an excellent resource to share with family and friends to help them understand what can be very hard to communicate.

As I slowly hobbled into my first nuerologist's office during my initial MS attack, he asked me "how are you feeling, and I don't mean mentally?" At that moment I knew it would be impossible to find another soul who understood me. I felt alone and almost like a hypochindriac...certainly there were many people with much more advanced MS than me, who were absolutely more worthy of the time and effort of the medical community. It took me a long time to realize that my experience with MS was certainly mine alone, but that did not make me an less entitled to the care and understanding given to other chronically ill patients who just had the rug pulled out from under them. If only I had Dr. Farrell's book back then I might have felt that validation much sooner. The important thing is that we all have this educational, supportive, friendly, conversational and non-judgemental resource now. Thank you Dr. Farrell!
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Farrell'sbook confirms my experience June 9 2011
By Irwin Mortman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I will tell you right up front that this book is necessary reading for a person with MS (PwMS), their caregivers, spouses or partners. My forceful recommendation is based on the fact that I was diagnosed with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) twenty-two years ago and have been researching this disease since my diagnosis. I was quite sure that I am very familiar with the past and current research until I read "It's Not All in Your Head." Although I noticed research papers on depression and MS over the years I did not pay much attention to depression because I thought the research papers on depression were related to PwMS not being able to adjust to their new disease related disabilities. And much to my surprise Dr. Farrell opened my eyes with her revealing book.

Over the years of my research I adopted many strategies to manage my PPMS and was delighted that Dr. Farrell confirms these strategies. For example:

1. The Resilience-Building Behaviors on page 42 is of paramount importance, in my opinion, whether one has depression or not, because it will enhance one's positive attitude as a management tool and also mentioned on page 197. A positive attitude is must, no question about it.

2. Dr. Farrell hit the nail on the head when it comes to exercise, and obviously whether you MS or not, but it is mandatory for PwMS to exercise on a regular schedule, i.e., no excuses are allowed. I agree with her assessment that exercise can regulate the immune system because it "rewires the brain."

3. Dr. Farrell's sage advice on being your own advocate is right on. Naturally, it requires effort on one's part, but it will enhance your well being, it will put you in charge. You must acquire knowledge regarding MS. as Dr. Farrell states, "knowledge is power."

Although I have never experienced depression, Dr. Farrell explains important findings that are made clear, e.g., a PwMS depression may be related to their immune system and not a psychiatric issue. But most important of all is that strategies are provided to deal with this type of depression.

The bottom line: Adopting the strategies recommended by Dr. Farrell cost zero dollars.

Dr. Farrell's writing is easy to understand because she uses everyday English rather than medical technical language so the reader does not need to struggle when reading. In addition, references are provided as well as suggested readings.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To the heart of the MS mind June 4 2011
By Jeffrey N. Gingold - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Stop wondering in silence. There is no reason to guess about how MS may be affecting your thinking - get clear answers. Whether you are newly diagnosed or an MS veteran - better understand yourself from this glimpse into your MS mind. In this well-researched book, Farrell provides a clear view of what MS may do to your emotions and cognitive functions. Her use of real-life examples from people with MS will lead you to recognize your own resilience.
Jeffrey N. Gingold
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great MS picker-upper book Sept. 21 2011
By P. Landeck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has a wonderful way of covering the negative aspects about MS and then countering them with positive solutions. It is an enjoyable read that offers positive suggestions for dealing with the mental aspects of living with MS. I highly recommend it to anyone with MS.
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