A 2022 research paper by the Leiden neuropsychiatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) clinic found 65% of lupus patients have a psychiatric disorder. With the mental burden ranging from mild to severe. 
Lupus is a long-term disease that affects the body and mind. Dealing with lupus can be hard and stressful, which can hurt a person’s mental health.
It’s important to get help and find ways to deal with the stress and other effects of lupus. In this post, we will talk about the mental health problems that come with having lupus and ways to take care of yourself to feel better.
We will discuss ideas and helpful resources to help you manage the mental health challenges of living with lupus.
Understanding the Mental Health Challenges of Lupus
Lupus is a lifelong autoimmune disorder that can affect various parts of the body. This includes the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, and nervous system. If these physical symptoms of lupus aren’t difficult enough, many people with lupus also face mental health challenges.
One of the top mental health issues that you may face with lupus is depression. Studies show that close to 80% of which deal with depression at some point in their lives.  This is likely due to a combination of factors. Such as long-term pain, fatigue, and the stress of living with an autoimmune condition. 
Another mental health challenge lupus patients experience is anxiety.  This is understandable when you consider the concerns lupus patients can have about their health and future. Besides the uncertainty that comes with living with a chronic condition.  Still, in some cases, anxiety may also be a result of the side effects of lupus medications like prednisolone. 
What’s more, lupus can affect your cognitive function, which can lead to poor memory, concentration and decision-making. This could impact your ability to perform everyday tasks. Amplifying any feelings of anxiety or depression you may or may not have. 
With this in mind, there is no wonder that lupus can impact a person’s social life. Add any physical issues like dry skin and/or rashes and it is easy to see why some patients choose to isolate. Together, these will contribute to feelings of low self-esteem and lower their quality of life. 
If these mental health issues hit home with you, consider seeking help. With the right support, it is possible to manage the mental health challenges associated with lupus and live a fulfilling life.
Coping Strategies for Mental Health Challenges
Having lupus can be mentally and emotionally taxing. The physical symptoms and worries about managing the disease can take a toll on your mental health. But it’s important to remember that getting help and finding ways to cope is important for managing the mental challenges of lupus.
Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Relaxing techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help with stress and improve your mental health.  These techniques help you focus on your thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and make it easier to handle tough emotions.
Therapy and Counselling
Talking to a mental health expert like a therapist or counsellor can help with lupus. They can help you deal with feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress and give you tips for coping. 
Support groups can be a helpful resource for people with lupus. Talking to others who are going through similar experiences can bring comfort and understanding. You can also get emotional support and advice from others who have faced the same challenges.
Physical activity like exercise can be a good way to cope with mental health challenges in lupus patients. Exercise has been shown to make you feel better and reduce anxiety and depression. Including exercise in your daily routine can help you manage stress and improve your mental health. 
Enjoying Hobbies and Interests
Do things that you enjoy. Whether it is painting, reading, gardening, or playing an instrument. It can distract you from the challenges of lupus and help you manage stress. Engaging in hobbies and interests can improve your mood and mental well-being. For example, a 2019 study shows having hobbies is good for the mental health of those who work long hours. 
Building a Support System
Having lupus can be tough, not only for your body, but also for your mind. Lupus is a disease that can cause a lot of symptoms that can affect a person’s mental health. It’s important for people with lupus to have people who support them to help them through these challenges.
The Power of Support
Studies show that having friends and family who support you can make a big difference for your mental health and happiness. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people with strong support from friends and family had less depression, anxiety, and stress compared to those with weaker support networks.
When it comes to lupus, having support can give you the emotional and practical help you need to manage the challenges of the disease. This can include help with things like transportation, household chores, and just having someone to listen.
Building a Support Team
Here are some ways lupus patients can build a support network:
- Talk to friends and family: Researchers know the importance your social circle, or lack of can have.  So, start by talking to people you already know and trust about your lupus and how it’s affecting your life. They may be able to help and even connect you with others who have gone through the same thing.
- Join a support group: Joining a group for people with lupus can give you a sense of community and a place to share experiences and coping strategies.
- Use online resources: There are many online groups for lupus patients where you can connect with others, exchange information, and offer support.
- Work with a therapist: A therapist can be a safe and private place to talk about your experiences and feelings. They can also give you coping strategies and help with depression and anxiety.
- Get support from your medical team: You can also get support from your doctor, nurse, or social worker. They can give you information and resources, and connect you with support groups or mental health experts if needed.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
To keep healthy while living with lupus, it’s important to take care of yourself. Here are some ways to do that:
- Exercise: Exercise can make you feel better physically and mentally, help reduce stress, and lower the chance of flare-ups.
- Sleep: You need to sleep well to be healthy. Both physically and mentally.  Lupus patients should aim to sleep 7-9 hours a night.
- Relaxation: Doing things like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help lower stress and improve your mental health.
- Healthy eating: Eating food that is rich in nutrients and vitamins, and low in processed foods and sugar, can help manage your symptoms and improve your mental health. 
- Time management: To avoid fatigue and stress, it’s important to manage your time effectively. This can mean setting priorities and asking others for help.
By doing these things, lupus patients can stay healthy and feel better. Everyone is different, so it’s important to find what works for you and be patient. Talking to a doctor can help you create a plan that fits your needs and goals.
In conclusion, living with lupus can bring mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, poor cognitive function, and isolation. However, it is important to remember that seeking help and finding ways to cope is essential for managing the mental challenges of lupus.
There are many strategies available such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques, therapy and counselling, support groups, exercise, and engaging in hobbies. Additionally, building a support system is also crucial for people with lupus to have emotional and practical help in managing the disease.
By talking to friends and family, joining a support group, using online resources, and working with a therapist, lupus patients can build a supportive network to help them through the challenges of the disease.
I would love to know your thoughts. Feel free to drop a comment below or contact me.
If you like this article, check out my other articles here.