Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the Central Nervous System. It is considered the most widespread unforeseeable, progressing and disabling neurological condition among young adults (Leary & Thompson, 2000). According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation it is estimated that about 2.5 million people are suffering from Multiple Sclerosis in all over the world of which 10000 to 12000 are in Greece. Some of the main symptoms of MS are numbness of the face, body, or arms and legs, fatigue, pain, walking problems, vision, bladder and bowel problems, cognitive changes, sexual dysfunctions, depression, etc. Since MC is a chronic disease and therefore, the symptoms are constant during the lifespan, patients’ needs for assistance are growing and caregivers’ support – both emotionally and practically toward the patient is of a vital importance.

The role of a “caregiver” usually holds the family members, for instance parents or siblings and spouses, as well. Hence, it is indispensable investigate in depth how carers’ experience this condition and what they need to improve their lives and patients as well, since it seems that apart from patients caregivers also, experience high levels of emotional distress, a decrease of their quality of life, physical, social, and financial burdens, and son on (Patti, 2007; Buhse, 2008). Several researches has focused on experiences of partners of people with multiple sclerosis and most of them have shown that female partner caregivers tend to feel more stressed out and depressed whereas men seems to be less vulnerable in terms of this situation (Boeije, & van Doorne-Huiskes, 2003; Miller & Cafasso, 1992). Contrary to this, according to Patti and her colleagues (2007) being a caregiver effects to a higher degree males’ mental health compared to female carers.

References

Boeije, H. R., & van Doorne-Huiskes, A. (2003). Fulfilling a sense of duty: How men and women giving care to spouses with multiple sclerosis interpret this role. Community, Work & Family, 6(3), 223-244.

Buhse, M. (2008). Assessment of caregiver burden in families of persons with multiple sclerosis. Journal of neuroscience Nursing, 40(1), 25-31.

Leary, S. M., & Thompson, A. J. (2000). Current management of multiple sclerosis. International journal of clinical practice, 54(3), 161-169.

Miller, B., & Cafasso, L. (1992). Gender differences in caregiving: fact or artifact?. The Gerontologist,    32(4), 498-507.

Patti, F., Amato, M. P., Battaglia, M. A., Pitaro, M., Russo, P., Solaro, C., & Trojano, M. (2007). Caregiver Quality of life in multiple sclerosis: a multicentre Italian study. Multiple Sclerosis.

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