Living With Lupus : Lupus and Depression

Chenelle Covin
July 27, 2017
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Life with lupus can be challenging. With symptoms coming and going to flare ups, the disease can cause normal feelings of like frustration, sadness and anger. Anxiety, panic attacks, and depression can be a side-effect of Lupus.

According to The Johns Hopkins Lupus Center, approximately one-third of all people with lupus experience depression and anxiety. Why are the statistics so high? The Lupus Foundation of America compiled these and other helpful facts about lupus and depression:

  • Clinical depression may be a result of the ways in which lupus physically affects your body.
  • Some of the medicines to treat lupus — especially corticosteroids such as prednisone (and at higher doses of 20 mg or more) — play a role in causing clinical depression.
  • Clinical depression may be a result of the continuous series of emotional and psychological stressors associated with living with a chronic illness.
  • Two common feelings associated with clinical depression [and lupus] are hopelessness and helplessness. People who feel hopeless believe that their distressing symptoms may never improve. People who feel helpless believe they are beyond help — that no one cares enough to help them or could succeed in helping, even if they tried

In understanding lupus, the most common cause is the emotional drain from the stress of coping with the complications of physical illness. Add to that economic, social, and workplace concerns. Moreover, various medications used to treat lupus—especially corticosteroids—may cause clinical depression. When certain organs or organ systems are affected by lupus (such as the brain, heart, or kidneys), clinical depression may occur.

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