Psychological interventions in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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There are many psychological issues relevant to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The progressive and currently un-stoppable nature of the disease may lead to a reaction that includes a depressive response, hopelessness and anxiety, in both ALS patients and caregivers. In a multidisciplinary ALS team, attention to psychological aspects can significantly improve the quality of life of patients and relatives. Psychologists may play an important role in care, from a bio-psycho-social perspective. An initial psychological intervention may begin during the diagnosis phase, supporting the communication given by the physician, with attention to emotive and psychosocial aspects. After the diagnosis and during disease progression, patients and carers should be able to access a “safe place”, a relationship with a professional where they can receive counselling, aimed at improving coping methods. Psychologists can increase the acceptance rate of devices such as wheelchairs, NIVs and communicators or, at least, promote a better awareness of their psychological significance. Specific counselling could be provided in the choice of invasive interventions, such as PEG of tracheostomy, and may be useful in the acceptance of end-of-life deliberations. Spiritual assistance, not strictly related to religious believes, can be very helpful to patients and their close relatives. Psychological support may also be helpful for physicians, giving their burden of care. People who work with ALS patients are at a high risk of professional burnout. Psychological counselling may be an appropriate response to reduce this risk.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Symptoms, Treatment and Prognosis
EditorKatashi Segawa, Ryota Ijichi
Numero di pagine19
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Medical Psychology
  • Psychological well-being
  • Resilience


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