Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

What is ADEM?

ADEM is a type of autoimmune encephalitis that leads to brief but intense inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.

What causes ADEM?

ADEM is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the myelin which is responsible for protecting the nerves. This often occurs after a viral or bacterial infection.

What are the symptoms of ADEM?

The symptoms of ADEM vary depending on the location of the inflammation in the brain or spinal cord and the onset is usually quite quick.

Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Unsteadiness
  • Inability to walk
  • Weakness
  • Tingling sensation
  • Seizures.

Are you affected by acute disseminated encephalomyelitis?

If you’re affected by ADEM, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with ADEM, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with brain injuries from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with ADEM? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including ADEM, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources related to acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and on many other disability-related issues.

Visit our library to read:

Or search the catalogue online here.

Support groups

The Encephalitis Society support service

The Encephalitis Society online forum

The TM Society Manchester Group

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up an ADEM support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

The Encephalitis Society

The TM Society