Lupus and Depression

Lupus and depression


Life with lupus can be challenging, and winter plus COVID-stress do not help.

I feel like living on a roller coaster: disease flares and remissions, and the uncertainty of what each day will bring. It’s normal to experience feelings of frustration, anger, or sadness – you are not alone. It’s also normal to grieve for the loss of identity you had before lupus.

However, there is a difference between temporary negative feelings and negative feelings that become overwhelming and long-lasting, which may signal a serious but treatable illness called clinical depression.

Between 15 and 60% of people with a chronic illness will experience clinical depression. It may be a result of how 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 also produces anxiety, aggravating physical symptoms (headache, stomach pain, etc.).

Most common psychological and physical symptoms of clinical depression:


Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness;


Crying (often without reason);

Insomnia or restless sleep, or sleeping too much;

Changes in appetite leading to weight loss or weight gain;

Feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, or irritability;

Feelings of guilt or regret;

Lowered self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness;

Inability to concentrate or difficulty thinking;

Diminished memory and recall;


Lack of interest in things formerly enjoyed;

Lack of energy;

General slowing and clouding of mental functions;

Diminished sexual interest and/or performance;

Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.


If you experience depression symptoms, you will probably need to:

Seek psychotherapy.

Take antidepressant medications.

Find ways to reduce pain.

Get more exercise.

Improve your sleep habits.

Build a support system.

Change your self-talk.

Discover the values of volunteerism; Strive to accept the new “you.”


Talk to your doctor to seek medical recommendations, and read more at

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