Amy Sullivan, PsyD: Personalized Approach to Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis


The Director of Behavioral Medicine at the Mellen Center for MS Treatment and Research at the Cleveland Clinic spoke about how she approaches fatigue in MS from a behavioral standpoint.

“There are some medications that our patients respond very well to, but from a behavioral perspective, I think it’s important that we recognize the behavioral modifications [that can be utilized].”

The so-called invisible symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) include such symptoms as pain, cognitive impairment, fatigue, and mental health disorders, among others. Fatigue, particularly, is experienced by a high percentage of patients with MS and can be rooted in a number of causes. As a result, it is often approached from both medication and non-medication standpoints.

Amy B. Sullivan, PsyD, ABPP, Director of Behavioral Medicine, Mellen Center for MS Treatment and Research at the Cleveland Clinic, is focused on the non-medication approaches to fatigue. In her practice, the fatigue impacts as many as 80% of patients, and it often requires a personalized approach. She noted that it is important to determine if their fatigue is a symptom of their MS, or if it is being caused by an underlying issue, such as major depressive disorder, which occurs in patients with MS at much higher rates than in the general population.

At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), May 28-June 1, in Seattle, Washington, Sullivan sat with NeurologyLive® to discuss the importance of determining the root cause of fatigue for individual patients when building their individual treatment plan.

For more coverage of CMSC 2019, click here.

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