ECTRIMS: Multiple Sclerosis and the Workplace

Everything you need to know about EAP. 

ECTRIMS Conference

The ECTRIMS conference is the leading MS conference, the Boston conference in 2014 heavily discussed the implications of MS in the work place, as well as the usual discussion around new breakthroughs in the treatment, management and understanding the condition. EASNA focus on the work place and employment challenges for people with MS and how employers can help. 

In terms of the medical side of things we would recommend visiting the ECTRIMS website or your local MS charity.

For more information on managing disability as an EAP practitioner check here.

Multiple Sclerosis is often difficult for employers to understand, as such the primary issue for any EAP practitioner is going to be education around expectations. The problem with MS, particularly Relapse Remitting MS, is that the condition itself is inconsistent with most employer’s expectation of a disability. 

RRMS, the most common form typically has flare ups, an employee with the condition could have no issues for months or even years and then be laid up for days or weeks at a time. This time frame is relatively uncommon though. 

What is more common is regular symptoms such as brain fog, or muscular issues limiting mobility for periods of time. 

Progressive MS however will come with a steady decline which will be more similar to a degenerative disease, there currently is no treatment for progressive MS and in these cases we would recommend EAP’s offer counselling and employers take steps ahead of time to ensure that the work environment remain suitable, whilst not going to far so as to distress the employee. 

Brain Fog 

Brain Fog is one of the largest issues for employers to understand when it comes to MS, some studies have shown that various nootropic supplements could help mitigate brain fog, but there is currently nothing that is FDA approved. The problem with Brain Fog, is that it could happen at any time and could have an employee appear to be forgetful or disinterested at random intervals. Understanding the condition can severely reduce the impact on both the employee and the team, with supervisors and managers being trained in ways to assist with any issues that may arise. 

Supplements For MS

Caffeine is seems to be quite effective and safe in terms of supplementing for focus related issues in MS [1]. Vitamin D supplementation can also help, vitamin D is directly linked to the development of of MS in the first place, [2]. And Vitamin D supplementation is deemed to be very helpful for helping manage the condition [3] employers should be aware of if their work environment provides adequate natural light for vitamin D creation.
Other supplements could be beneficial for MS, however currently it is recommended that people with MS don’t use Resveratrol which is common in a lot of the best nootropics or focus supplements so reading the label is essential.