Therapist’s Tips: 5 Things To Say To Persons With ALS

Have you recently found out that a person close to you has ALS? Do you find it challenging to deal with the said individual? Is it hard to get going after you heard of the sad news? What you are feeling at the moment is only normal, especially if you did not see it coming. We understand that it may also hurt to see that your loved one is suffering from an illness. Do not fret nor worry because there are tons of what on how you can help him or her. According to a therapist, love and support can help a lot in making an ill-person feel better about himself and those surrounding him. The moment this happened, the said person has a better chance of recovery compared to someone who is always depressed or sad.


In today’s article, we are going to share some of the top sentences to say to a person with ALS. Before anything else, we want to highlight or emphasize that saying the right words at the right time can be a significant factor in helping your loved one improve his medical condition. As such, it is crucial on your part to be sensitive with what you have to say. You need to be extra careful with your words and actions because these things can make or break a person. Make sure to check the list below so that you can be of service to your loved one: 

“You Can Count On Me.”

“Most of us have friends, or at least one friend—someone we spend time with, someone who knows us better than others do, someone we can count on when the need arises,” writes Abigail Brenner M.D.

Make it a top priority to give assurance to the other person that you will stay by his side no matter what happens. Let him know or feel that he can always count on you, particularly on bad days when the latter may lose hope or feel down. Your loved one will surely feel secure knowing that he can always come to you in times of need. Take note that the moment you say these words, you must live up to this promise. Never utter them to the one you love if you cannot fulfill it. Otherwise, you will only end up hurting him.

“Let’s Do The Things You Love.”

A person with ALS may experience deteriorating physical wellness until it affects his mobility. Before it is too late, we recommend that you spend quality time with the said individual. All you need to do is to let your loved one know that you are interested in doing the activities or hobbies that he enjoys. Make him feel that you are also in love with his interests so that he will feel comfortable doing certain things with you. In so doing, you can allow him to invest his time and efforts in things that make him happy. As a result, he will start to feel better about himself. If this continues to happen for a long period, then there is a good chance that it can also help in battling his sickness. For example, you can travel together to a nearby town or go on a simple date at home.

“The larger theme is that of stepping back — looking at the larger picture of your life, uncovering what and how keeps you from getting what you want. Try to find the larger process, the emotions and skills that keep you from moving forward,” writes Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.



“You Are Loved.”

Sometimes, it is not enough to let the other person feel that he means a lot in your life. You also need to make sure that he hears words of affection every now and then. Make it a habit to say “I love you” or “I care for you” to the other person so that he will never forget it. It is best to combine your continuous efforts of showing and telling him how much you love him. Do not let him figure things out. Keep in mind that whatever you say to him can have a positive impact on his mental wellness. Choose the right words, and everything is going to be okay. Saying these sweet words will not only improve his mood. At the same time, it will also make him realize that you passionately care for him despite his medical condition.

“Many of us are guilty of taking people for granted, so it’s good to acknowledge those who’ve impacted our lives and those we could not live without,” writes Diana Raab Ph.D.


There is no easy or fast way to handle a situation wherein your loved one is sick. Most of the time, you will wish to take away the pain he feels and transfer it to yourself. Sad to say, this option is not possible, which is why you must direct your focus instead on things that matter. For example, make it your number one task to care for your loved one who has an ALS. Do not let a day pass without reminding him of how his presence illuminates everything in your life.



Things You Need To Know About ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, most known as ALS, is a condition that interrupts the communication between the muscles of the body and the brain. The disease hinders the brain from sending instructions to the muscles which break it down slowly over time. With that, the muscles lose their function where it eventually leads to paralysis. While there are no cures for the disease, therapist, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals are doing their best in assisting patients with ALS. There are dedicated extensive researches that aim to understand and attempts to treat the disease.


What Causes ALS?

“This is a disease that has had not such a great track record in finding therapies,”says Dr. Jeffrey D. Rothstein, M.D. Ph.D., who is the founder and director of the Answer ALS program. “ALS takes someone in the prime of life, and they slowly — or rapidly — lose all their ability to move.”

Before starting the enumeration as to what causes ALS, it is essential to note that there are two types of the condition. There is the familial type, which is known to be a hereditary case and appears to be in at least 5% to 10% of individuals with ALS. Sporadic, on the other hand, is the most common condition where it affects individuals for approximately 90% to 95% of those patients who get diagnosed with ALS. But while the alarming percentage of sporadic ALS’s cause is still unknown, the familial type seems to have known facts that help direct current studies and research to possible treatment.

Increased Radicals and Damaged Protein Processing

Numerous risk factors, such as gender, age, and genetics, affect the majority of ALS. The probably of the development of the disease seems to increase as individuals increases in age. That is usually between 40 to 60 years old. The condition is also common in men than in women. However, the difference does not manifest over the age of 70.

In some cases, genetics execute a role in the attempt to identifying the cause of the condition. It is considered one of the risk factors due to genetic variations that include gene codlings for specific protein loss that are common in patients with ALS. In terms of the protein loss, it increases the free radicals that slowly damage the functioning cells in the body, such as those responsible for protein and energy production. That is due to the incorrect protein processing of the nerve cells that form clumps. It means that the abnormal protein accumulates in the body spread from cell to cell. The clogging up eventually contributes to cell degeneration and cell death.


Autoimmunity and Gene Mutation

Another avenue that attempts to understand the causes of ALS includes the method of looking through the malfunctioning immune system. Since the disease has something to do with muscle function, one explanation contributes to cell regeneration and gene mutation. These include the effect on the changes in the brain’s neural activity, which results in a senseless immune system. With this, the immune system begins to attack its own body where it kills all the functioning and nonfunctioning nerve cells at the same time. And speaking of mutation, another possible explanation involves it because it can become a factor for ALS that leads to glutamate toxicity. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that gets released from the brain. Usually, it can be found in high concentration near neurons of patients with the condition. That is because excessive exposure to the neurotransmitter damages the nerve cells structure.


Environmental Factors and Lifestyle Changes

While there are multiple genetic causes of ALS that gets backed up by scientific studies and research, its ecological roots are not that well understood. That is the reason why people with the condition do not often receive a piece of professional advice to change their lifestyle instantly. Perhaps that is because there is no specific healthy lifestyle that proves to decrease the risk of developing ALS. However, in some cases, links have been found between ALS and other factors. These include the exposure to electrical and mechanical trauma, exercise exposure to heavy metals and chemicals, military services, high levels of exercise, as well as cigarette smoking. There is also the possibility that the environmental factors work simultaneously with genetics to increase individuals’ chance of developing ALS. “There’s a lot we can do to manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life,” says Rabia Malik, MD, a neurologist at Rush.

Why It’s Hard To Cure ALS?

Up until today, ALS is still one of the most devastating and complex diseases to affect humankind. No one knows precisely how and why these cells die, and that is what makes ALS so hard to treat. “The medication does slow down the course of ALS, but it is not a cure,” says Dr. Greg Schaublin, M.D. In its 90% cases, the condition arises so sudden with no apparent cause that makes curing it takes the most critical medical and scientific challenges. Despite its many unknowns, the continued awareness for ALS is essential to help open up a new avenue for its treatment.