How do people respond to diagnosis?

Everyone is different. Whatever you feel, it's OK.

At first, people can feel shocked and unable to take in what has happened. It may even feel as if it is happening to someone else and you are watching yourself from the outside.

Some people feel very emotional – including being angry, worried, fed up or tearful. Some people feel relieved – at last they have an answer after years of trying to find out the reason for their symptoms. Some people experience a lack of emotion which is OK too – being diagnosed with MS is a lot to take in.

Many people's feelings go up and down and coping with this can be a learning process.

Find out more:

How much will MS affect my life?

Will it stop me doing what I'd like to do?

After diagnosis, it may feel like life has changed in a big way or it may seem exactly the same but with the 'MS' tag added.

MS affects everyone differently and it is not possible to predict exactly how a particular person will be affected. Symptoms usually vary from day to day and year to year. Some people experience disability due to MS but this is not the case for everyone.

Many people with MS are diagnosed at a time in their lives when they are making key life choices like whether to settle down, have children and build a career.

Being diagnosed with MS may not change your plans so don't feel pressured into making decisions too soon after diagnosis.

Find out more:

Are there changes I can make?

People often ask what they can do themselves.

MS is a lifelong condition but there is a lot you can do to be as well as possible.

People living with MS often say that the most important thing is to live each day as it comes. Accepting this can be a way to move forward.

Trying to be positive and taking charge of managing your MS, with the support of health professionals, can also be key.

When it comes to lifestyle, the advice for people with MS is the same as for everyone – eat healthily, exercise sensibly, avoid smoking and try not to drink alcohol to excess.

Also, listen to people who know about MS. You may encounter a wide range of opinion but use your judgement and choose wisely. It's your life.

More about Making Sense of MS

Making Sense of MS is our suite of resources for people who have recently been diagnosed with MS

Order our free booklet for people recently diagnosed with MS or read it as a PDF

View all our newly diagnosed resources and order them in print for free or read them as PDFs

Visit the home page for people newly diagnosed with MS to browse information online

Browse our video collection which features people with MS talking about their diagnosis and also MS specialist health professionals 

Last Updated: 26 September 2015

This page will be reviewed within three years