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Feelings of loneliness and isolation are common in Lupus patients and Upwards of 25% of Lupus Warriors are also battling major depression. The Lupus Foundation of America acknowledges that feelings of isolation and depression are very common for people with lupus. There are a lot of reasons for people with lupus to feel depressed… pain, stress, fear, and frustration. All those feelings can make it hard for Lupus patients to want to socialize with others or their family. If you have lupus, do not feel bad for feeling sad because your feelings are completely understandable. None of these feeling are your fault. 

Isolation and Loneliness

Lupus can get in the way of important interaction with family and friends and is important to maintain mental health. Going outside with lupus can become difficult, especially with photo sensitivity. Going to work with lupus can become an endurance test. Pain fatigue and flares can force Lupus Warriors to avoid social interaction. The lack of socialization can wear you down and can lead to depression, which makes it more difficult to go out and interact.

Physical Appearance and Depression

Worrying about your appearance is not vain! You have a right to feel good about how you look. Having self confidence about your appearance can help you get out, interact, and perform better at work. Lupus can cause visible signs, such as a limp or in the case of cutaneous lupus, rashes, and discoloration on the body that can affect how you feel about yourself. Even “moon face” caused by corticosteroid medication can cause increased fat deposits on the face. These visible symptoms can affect confidence and cause people with lupus to withdraw.

7 Strategies That Battle Loneliness and Depression…

It is very important to break out of the feeling of loneliness and depression. It is not an easy task. You might not feel you have the energy to do it. But there are things that can help!

Mental Health Providers and Medications

Add a psychiatrist and a therapist to your treatment team. You may need extra help to take care of your mental heath if you are struggling with depression. There are also antidepressants such as Selective Serotonin Reuptaker Inhibitors duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor) which can also help with pain, and citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertralin (Zoloft). Exactly how the inhibitors help with pain is not really understood, it may involve a change in the neurotransmitters in the spinal column that reduce pain signals for chronic pain, arthritis and neuropathic pain.

Proper Diet & Exercise

Taking care of your basic life needs can do a lot for your physical health. This can help with depression as well as give you more energy. Make time to get an appropriate amount of exercise, eat a healthy balanced diet and get plenty of rest. You will feel better and will have a feeling of accomplishment for working towards a goal to have more energy.

Try to Enjoy Yourself

Try and find fun things to do that you enjoy. Lupus can keep you from doing some of your favorite activities, but look for something you can do. Take time to relax and enjoy. It is your life and having lupus doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it.

Look Your Best

Looking the best you can will make you feel better and more confident. Taking time to look good can make you feel good.

Find the Positive

Be grateful for what you do have. When you stop to remember what you have instead of worrying about what you may not will change your perspective for the better. Lupus can be overwhelming, painful, and frustrating, but there is always a bright spot if you look for it. Focus on positive things like something good that happened today. Even a smallest of successes can boost your mood and keep you from falling into depression.

Fight Isolation

The chemical imbalance of depression and pain of lupus can involve many medications but social isolation is very fixable. Finding a support group is a great way for you to find others who are going through the same things as you. Social interaction is vital to lupus warriors and is as important as any medication!

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About Cincinnati Rheumatic Disease Study Group

The Cincinnati Rheumatic Disease Study Group (CRDSG) is an organization of practicing rheumatologists dedicated to improving the care of patients with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. It strives to do this by performing rigorous and ethical clinical research with the goal of developing better treatments for all patients with these conditions.
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