Amy B. Sullivan, PsyD: Screening MS Patients for Comorbidities


The director of behavioral medicine at the Mellen Center for MS Treatment and Research at Cleveland Clinic discussed the importance of screening patients with MS for other conditions for which they are prevalently comorbid, such as depression or sleep disorders.

“It’s a 9-item questionnaire, it’s free, and it’s very easy to put into the intake process of a neurology practice. My recommendation is to follow the AAN and screen for depression.”

Of the estimated 1 million US-based individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), more than 50% of those patients are additionally facing comorbid depression and sleep disorders. This presents a hurdle in care not only for the patients who experience these conditions, but the physicians and their teams who are treating them as well. Being aware of the impacts one disorder may have on another is important, but the importance of recognizing that the conditions exist together cannot be overstated.

At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), May 28-June 1, in Seattle, Washington, Amy B. Sullivan, PsyD, ABPP, director, behavioral medicine, Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center for MS, gave a presentation on this topic of the so-called invisible symptoms of MS. She spoke about the need to screen for these conditions while patients with MS are in the clinic and recommended following the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) guidelines when considering doing so.

At CMSC, NeurologyLive® sat with Sullivan to further discuss how to ensure patients with MS and comorbid conditions don’t slip through the cracks. She provided insight into how these patients are screened at the Mellen Center and offered advice to neurologists on how to implement these screenings when there is no collaborative care model in place.

For more coverage of CMSC 2019, click here.


Sullivan A. Invisible Symptoms: Prevalence Statistics of Fatigue and Sleep Disorders in MS. Presented at: CMSC 2019; May 28 to June 1, 2019; Seattle, Washington.

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