Living in Present Key in MS Patients' Outcomes

Positive thinking, including “concentrating on [a] hedonistic future†are signs a patient with remitting-relapsing multiple sclerosis (RRMS) has accepted his or her illness, a Polish study found. Acceptance is a treatment goal because it is associated with better compliance as well as a heightened sense of well-being, researchers said.

Positive thinking, including “concentrating on [a] hedonistic future” are signs a patient with remitting-relapsing multiple sclerosis (RRMS) has accepted his or her illness, a Polish study found. Acceptance is a treatment goal because it is associated with better compliance as well as a heightened sense of well-being, researchers said.

In a study published online at www. psychiatriapolska.pl, Joanna Krol of the Institute of Psychology at the University of Szczecin in Szczecin, Poland and colleagues rated patients’ attitudes using the “Acceptance of Illness” scale, translated into Polish. There are about 40,000 residents of Poland living with RRMS. The researchers had a study group of 54 patients (ages 19 to 54 years) getting immunomodulatory treatment at the Neurology Clinic of Autonomous Public Clinical Hospital No. 1 in Szczecin.

They also looked a patients’ socio-demographic status, and their physical condition as reflected in Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores.

“Avoiding contemplation of negative past and concentrating on hedonistic future constitute significant predictors of illness acceptance,” the team concluded. The results suggest that in the initial stage of the disease, patients might benefit from psychological support.

Patients with RRMS are prone to depression and illness acceptance is a key to remaining engaged in life, as opposed to “passive withdrawal from one’s life,” the authors wrote.

In patient interviews, the team found that patients with RRMS tended to have a “past-negative orientation” meaning they showed traits of “timidity, aggression, subjective low self-esteem, and rumination” and spent more time than others “being immersed in negative emotions and contemplating issues connected with unfortunate life events.”

Patients who accepted that they were ill became more likely to live in the present, focus on pleasurable activities possible despite their condition, and have better self-esteem.

“It is worthwhile to work with the patients in order to help them redefine their life goals, assist in rediscovering positive past experiences and promote active attitude toward life in general,” the researchers said.