Cognitive Problems: Signs and Symptoms of MS

  1. Signs and Symptoms of MS
  2. Common Signs and Symptoms
  3. Cognitive problems


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a complex, multi-faceted disorder known primarily for its physical manifestations. However, the intertwining of MS with cognitive health is an aspect that warrants a closer look. This interplay also highlights the importance of addressing cognitive health in addition to physical symptoms. For those living with MS in the UK, finding resources such as free stock images UK can be helpful in managing and supporting their overall well-being.

I. Unveiling Cognitive Impairments in MS

A. What Does Cognition Mean?

Cognition encapsulates the thinking skills and thought processes acquired through prior experiences, encompassing abilities such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and language comprehension​1. It's the invisible engine driving our interactions with the world around us.

B. How Common Are Cognitive Issues in MS?

Cognitive dysfunction is a significant concern for individuals with MS, with approximately 50% of patients experiencing some cognitive impairment post-diagnosis​2. The prevalence underscores the necessity for early recognition and intervention to mitigate the impact on individuals' lives.

II. Spotting the Signs

A. Common Cognitive Symptoms in MS

MS cognitive symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common difficulties include problems with:

  • Learning and memory, particularly recalling recent events and remembering to execute planned actions.​3.
  • Slowed information processing, which could affect comprehension and social interactions.​4.
  • Challenges in planning, decision-making, and maintaining attention span are crucial for navigating daily tasks efficiently.​5.

B. The Daily Impact

The ripple effect of cognitive dysfunction extends to various facets of daily living. The correlation between cognitive deficits and quality of life is robust, affecting employment status, social interactions, and the ability to perform routine household tasks​6.

The outlined sections above provide an introductory lens to understanding cognitive impairments within the context of MS, painting a picture of the unseen challenges individuals face. This understanding is the bedrock upon which we build strategies for diagnosis, management, and support in the subsequent sections. Exploring the signs and symptoms is crucial for establishing a baseline of awareness, paving the way for early intervention and improved quality of life for individuals grappling with MS.

III. Seeking Professional Insight

A. Diagnosing Cognitive Dysfunction

Early diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction in MS is pivotal for devising a tailored management plan. The process begins with a comprehensive mental evaluation, which should be performed on all patients diagnosed with MS and throughout their follow-up journey​1. A notable tool used in routine screening for cognitive impairment is the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, which can be particularly useful in assessing patients as their disease progresses​2.

B. Tools for Self-Assessment

Self-assessment tools can serve as valuable allies in monitoring cognitive function over time. Although they don't replace professional diagnostics, these tools can provide insightful data on mental changes, enabling a proactive management approach. Moreover, self-assessment can foster a sense of empowerment and awareness among individuals with MS, encouraging an active role in managing their cognitive health.

IV. Embracing Management Strategies

A. Medicinal Approaches

While the evidence regarding the efficacy of disease-modifying therapies in treating cognitive dysfunction is limited, cognitive rehabilitation emerges as a promising avenue. Additionally, some individuals with MS explore the use of medical cannabis as part of their management strategy, although the evidence of its efficacy for MS cognitive symptoms is still evolving. It's essential to consult with healthcare providers to understand the potential benefits and risks fully. For those interested in exploring this avenue, a reputable cannabis clinic such as Releaf could provide further guidance and support.

B. Lifestyle Tweaks

Lifestyle modifications can significantly impact cognitive function. Aerobic exercise, for instance, has the potential to enhance cognitive function. Moreover, engaging in activities that challenge the mind, maintaining a balanced diet, and ensuring adequate sleep are fundamental steps towards fostering mental health. Education about cognitive dysfunction, early screening, and ongoing monitoring are crucial elements of a holistic management strategy​6.


Armed with a nuanced understanding of cognitive dysfunctions in MS and their myriad manifestations, individuals and healthcare providers are better positioned to navigate the complex landscape of MS. The blend of professional insight and self-empowerment, coupled with a proactive management strategy, can significantly lessen the quality of life for those affected by MS.

Further Reading

Sarah G
Sarah G

Meet Sarah, the driving force behind With a heart for helping others, she's dedicated to providing clear and compassionate guidance to those facing multiple sclerosis. Having witnessed the challenges of MS firsthand, Sarah is committed to empowering individuals with knowledge about early signs, testing, and the resources available.As a trusted source of information, she ensures that offers expert insights and up-to-date content. Sarah's mission is to ease the journey of those seeking answers about MS diagnosis, offering a ray of hope and practical advice.With a background in healthcare advocacy and a passion for making complex topics relatable, Sarah's writing style ensures that everyone can access the information they need. She knows that a supportive community and reliable information can make all the difference in facing MS, and she's here to guide you every step of the way. Join Sarah on this important journey towards understanding and managing multiple sclerosis.