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Source: prescriber.co.uk

For someone with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, life is not at all easy. With symptoms that are erratic, flare-ups and remissions, and the ambiguity of what the today and the next will bring, it is not uncommon to feel frustrated, depressed, and angry. It is also not uncommon to mourn and miss the life you once had before lupus. When these feelings come in, therapy and other approaches are necessary to help keep lupus individual surviving and thriving. Because once these destructive feelings become longstanding, the matter becomes more serious and may develop into clinical depression.

Dealing with distress is difficult. By its very nature, distress is “great pain, acute suffering and extreme misfortune,” said Casey Radle, LPC.

Clinical Depression

A person is considered clinically depressed when he is constantly irritable, has low energy, and always sad and crying for more than several weeks already. These psychological and physical symptoms may also be present:

  • Always feeling hopeless
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • An increase or decrease in appetite
  • Feeling guilty or remorseful
  • Feeling worthless and insecure
  • Difficulty focusing and making wise decisions
  • No longer enjoys the usual things he used to do
  • Decreased sexual interest and performance
  • Repeated suicidal thoughts

Clinical depression may be a result of lupus itself, the medications used by the individual, or even other factors in his life, which may not be associated with lupus. People who suffer from chronic autoimmune conditions often have this kind of depression. At times, it may not be identified in those with lupus simply because clinical depression symptoms and lupus symptoms can be very much the same. For instance, decreased energy and difficulty sleeping are common symptoms of lupus as well.

According to Deborah Serani, PsyD, “Statements such as“You’re just too thin-skinned” or “Why do you let every little thing bother you?” shame a person with depression.”

Chronic Illness And Clinical Depression

Several factors lead to clinical depression in individuals who are suffering from lupus and other chronic conditions, the most common of which is emotional instability and stress from the complications of the illness. Additionally, certain medications for lupus, like corticosteroids, can also cause clinical depression. Ultimately, a lupus flare can evoke clinical depression symptoms, because the individual will feel very ill and also because they feel that throughout their life, they will never be lupus-free. Below are other important facts about chronic illness and clinical depression.

Source: utpsychiatry.ca
  • About 60% of those with chronic illness also have clinical depression.
  • Prednisone, a typical medicine for lupus, has been reported to cause clinical depression.
  • The depression may be a result of the mental and emotional stress of the individual’s life with a chronic illness.
  • Clinical depression causes increasing anxiety, which may lead to an increase in physical symptoms, such as stomachaches and headaches.

What You Can Do

Therapy. For someone suffering from a longstanding disease such as lupus and other autoimmune conditions, it is best to go through psychotherapy. Along with the proper intake and dosage of specific medications, psychotherapy tremendously helps alleviate clinical depression. Many of these individuals will need persuasion, as they will feel hesitant to go through it, but don’t be. Learning how to manage your depression will help you understand and accept your chronic illness, your emotions, and your relationships with family, friends, and significant others.

More importantly, cognitive behavioral therapy – a type of psychotherapy – is a very effective way of helping you cope with your lupus and the accompanying physical and psychological symptoms.

Medications. Taking antidepressants upon doctor’s orders is also an effective treatment for clinical depression, especially if done in conjunction with therapy. For some depressive patients who have a low tolerance for prescription drugs, their progress can be seen in a matter of weeks from when they started taking them.

Pain Relief. When pain is a persistent complaint of an individual with lupus or any chronic illness, he will most likely develop clinical depression. Aside from therapy and medication, healthcare professionals often suggest alternative ways to reduce pain. Tai Chi, Yoga, meditation, chiropractic manipulation, and acupuncture are some of the most common recommendations. Moreover, some find relief in herbal supplements. Physicians suggest, though, that one should inform his or rheumatologist before using these options.

Simon Rego, PsyD said “It seems obvious that experiencing a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, would be required for someone to be diagnosed.”

Source: picryl.com

Improvement Of Sleep Patterns. Sleep too much or too little causes many health conditions, which include clinical depression. Sleep is vital in improving one’s mental and physical being, so one should practice a good sleep schedule. Get approximately eight hours of sleep daily. If you have increased energy throughout the day, go brisk walking late in the afternoon so you’ll get tired then be able to sleep earlier. You must also avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Lastly, make sure that your bedroom is comfortable, the bed with a good mattress on, and the appropriate lighting.

Accept Yourself. You can’t feel bad for yourself, as it was never your intention to have lupus or develop a debilitating depression. Be responsible for taking care of yourself and focus on your healing and recovery. Clinical depression does not develop in a day, and overcoming it is a slow but sure process if you only commit to doing what you can to live contently.

 

 

One of the reasons why people are afraid to go to a medical doctor is because they fear their possible diagnosis. They are quite hesitant to undergo a medical checkup so that they will not get updates about their current health condition, especially if the results are not great. According to psychologists, this kind of fear is only usual because everyone is not ready to face the reality that he or she might be sick.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

In today’s article, our focus would be about the stress that any person could get the moment he finds out that he has an autoimmune disease. Take note that as of this time of writing, experts claim that there are around 80 kinds of autoimmune diseases that can affect anyone. If you recently found that you are one of its victims, be sure to read this article as we are going to share some techniques on how you can best handle the stress and anxiety accompanying your illness.

 

Before anything else, it is crucial for you to understand that the feeling of stress and anxiety is only normal. However, it does not mean that you will allow it to diminish your mental health and make you sicker. What matters the most is that you have the willpower to eliminate it and be strong despite having a severe medical condition. Here are the other tips and tricks to remember:

 

Trust Your Doctor

 

Stress is a manifestation of your endless worry and exhaustion about your current status. You are afraid that the disease can take a toll in your life. Instead of getting carried away with this fear, it is best if you will put all your trust to your doctor. You must believe what he says to you, particularly on the type of medicines to take. If you want, you can also ask for a second opinion so that you will have peace of mind. The more you trust your physician, the easier it is on your part to act calm. In the long run, it can eliminate worries.

 

According to Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC, “Mindfulness meditation practices are effective interventions, and sometimes for mild to moderate conditions—depression and anxiety—super-effective as front lines.”

 

Confide To A Friend

 

Autoimmune diseases may or may not be painful, but only one this is for sure, and that is the fact that it will always cause inconvenience or difficulty on your part. Because of these challenges, you will find yourself in a constant state of stress and anxiety. During these times, it is best if you will connect with a good friend who can help you process your thoughts and emotions. All you must do is to get in touch with this individual and accept his helping hand. Do not hesitate to tell him about your problems so that you can somehow feel relief within yourself. Talking to someone about your condition is a surefire way to ease your physical and emotional pain.

 

 

 

Be With Your Loved Ones

 

As much as possible, spend most of your time with the people who matter in your life. Always see to it that you share quality time with your loved ones. The more days you share with them, the happier you will become. Their presence can bring in more positivity and good vibes in your days. You will be amazed at how their touch and words can make you feel comfortable regardless of the illness that you have. Hence, it is suggested that you learn how to reach out to your family members or partner. Never let one single day pass without letting them know how much you appreciate their continuous support and unconditional love.

 

Stress can lead to depression. According to Deborah Serani, PsyD, “Depression is an insidious, isolating disorder, which can sabotage relationships.”

 

Keep Yourself Busy

 

Another smart way of dealing with the stress brought by your medical condition is to spend some time doing something new. Be brave enough to invest time and efforts into a new passion. Discover a new hobby or join a new organization with a humanitarian purpose. All that you have to remember is to seek for something that can keep yourself busy. The moment this happens, it will be easier for you to take your mind off the disease. You will start to think less about your condition and more about the things that you are passionate about.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Life is too short to keep on worrying on worthless matters. Promise yourself to live life to the fullest no matter what it takes.

 

“Sometimes the stigma of mental illness gets in the way of people getting the help they need,” said Jessica Koblenz, PsyD.

Source: picpedia.org

An autoimmune disorder is something that affects your daily function. The autoimmune condition causes the immune system to attack the healthy cells and tissues instead of the harmful substances in the body. For unknown reasons, the immune system is turning up against the body and causes inflammation and overproduction of collagen. It gives you all the stress and anxiety because of the things it does to your physiological aspect. There’s the feeling of discomfort and irritability that you can’t seem to explain. There are symptoms that you may think is normal, but can often mean different.

“Recognize that physical pain may be part of the process.” – Simon Rego, PsyD

Body Pain

Joint and muscle pain are one of the most common signs of the many autoimmunity diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease. It is also common to have gastrointestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and celiac disease. The inflammation causes the pain of these diseases due to the immune system attacking the different healthy parts of the body. These include the walls of the intestines and the lining of the joints. There’s an inability to drown out pain signals that get sent to the brain which causes hypersensitivity.

Chronic Fatigue

Most autoimmune disease patients suffer from fatigue. Though it can be a sign of a lot of other medical and emotional issues, it is still one on top of the list. The reason why there’s fatigue in autoimmune patients is due to overconsumption of energy. Typically, the process of using the body’s energy is okay because the immune system is only trying to take care of the body from daily exposure to environmental toxins. However, when the immune system attacks the body, there’s the experience of having an abnormally high demand for energy level.

Source: wikimedia.org

“Chronic work stress, insufficient mental health resources, feeling overworked and under supported — these are issues facing too many workers.” – David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA

Rashes And Hives

Rashes and other skin conditions come in many forms in autoimmune diseases. Usually, it appears most prevalent in lupus. The symptom is due to the rapid cell reproduction on the skin. Some of these skin conditions are dry and itchy as well. These are visible in the face, even all over the eyelids. It can also appear in the shoulder, upper chest, on the back, and even around the knuckles. It usually targets the top half of the body. There are some instances that the other types of rashes don’t itch. However, it tends to be painful due to the burning sensation.

Headaches And Migraines

Autoimmune diseases cause migraines and headaches on particular events. The cause of it is commonly due to the inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain. The different toxic substance that gets up in the brain irritates the blood vessels leaving the brain nerves in a dysfunctional state. Generally, when patients deal with headaches, it either there is too much or too little blood flow going to the brain.

Depression

Over about thousands of people diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder are suffering from depression. Compared to other people who are not mentally ill, patients with mental condition are more likely to experience intense pain. That is because of the under-active performing brain. Therefore, the unfortunate road of having autoimmune and depression can go both ways. The mental health condition associated with depression appears to be true in some particular autoimmune diseases. These include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

“Depression is not sadness over loss. But people can become depressed from persistent and unremitting stress, or as the outcome of trauma, or they may have neurobiology that makes it likely that they will become depressed at some time in their lives for no obvious reason.” – Margaret Wehrenberg, PsyD

Source: pixabay.com

Brain Or Mental Fog

Many of the toxins that significantly contribute to autoimmune disease also inhibit the brain’s ability to function correctly. It is a symptom where patients experience mental cloudiness, and they have a difficult time thinking and focusing on things. The condition happens when inflammation occurs near the barrier of the brain. It wears and breaks down the supporting wall. So when that happens, it permits the toxins to pass through the bloodstream causing damage to the brain.

There are still a lot of other symptoms that are common in autoimmune disorders. These include gastrointestinal distress where it involves specific conditions like bloating, constipation, stomach cramping, vomiting, and even diarrhea. If you find having more of these symptoms, you may be an excellent candidate for autoimmune disease. Therefore, it is best that you pay attention to your health and consult a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment immediately.

Everyone is susceptible to developing an autoimmune disease. This kind of sickness can be severe and can cause a sharp decline in health. To ensure protection and prevention in the family, we should promote awareness of the cause and symptoms and observe a healthier lifestyle.

Autoimmune Disease And Its Causes

The body’s immune system acts as a protection structure against foreign elements to the body such as viruses and germs. The immune system sends a group of cells to attack these elements to keep away infections and diseases.

Source: picpedia.org

The immune system, in the case of an autoimmune disease, mistakenly determines a part of the body as foreign and thus sends out autoantibodies to attack the healthy cells.

Simon Rego, PsyD said “Unfortunately, there is still a stigma against mental health disorders in general.”

Common Symptoms Of Autoimmune Diseases

An autoimmune disease is hard to detect in its early stage. Although one may exhibit the typical symptoms, some downplay them as common sicknesses like fever, overfatigue, and other reactions to viral infection.

Therefore, it is best to have a regular check-up with your doctor because an autoimmune disease can be severe and destructive. It may cause abnormal growth and failure of an organ. Here are some early symptoms of the autoimmune disease:

  1. Frequent feelings of fatigue
  2. Fever
  3. Severe joint pain
  4. Inflammatory disease
  5. Rashes
  6. Malaise

There are more than 80 diseases that result from autoimmune reactions; therefore, before the sickness gets severe, it is best to seek early treatment to prevent developing terrible diseases such as lupus and cancer.

According to Jim Jackson, PsyD, “Many ICU survivors were thrust far too quickly into normal roles and responsibilities.”

Natural Remedies For Autoimmune Diseases

When you already have the disease, more grueling treatments, and medication are needed; however, there are some simple practices that you can incorporate in your daily routine to lessen the symptoms and help speed up healing:

  1. Medication And Deep Relaxation

The cells that fight harmful foreign elements from our bodies are called white blood cells. When we experience stress, our bodies produce a stress hormone called corticosteroid that suppresses the white blood cells.

It results in adverse reactions in the immune system wherein excessive corticosteroid may cause the immune system to breakdown causing the onset of an autoimmune disease. To lower stress levels, there are many breathing techniques and yoga exercises that you can try. You can also go to sauna salons and get massages for relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety.

  1. Regular Exercise

Inflammation of a body part is one of the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. Exercise is an anti-inflammatory activity that improves your mood and reduces stress by increasing the production of hormones called endorphins.

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

However, types of exercise vary according to the autoimmune disease. For example, if you have problems with muscles tissues and joint pains, a high-intensity workout such as weightlifting is not recommended.

  1. Taking Care Of Your Gut

The immune system is near the digestive system. Therefore, the food we eat and other things we may intake affect it. The best way to keep the stomach healthy is by eating healthy organic food and avoid those with high chemical content.

Source: maxipixel.net

Include in your diet anti-inflammatory food such as high-fiber fruits, green leafy vegetables, and lean meat with good oil and high protein like mackerel, tuna, and salmon.

Lifestyle Tips To Fight Autoimmune Disease

For those who already have a diagnosis, for sure your doctors have already prescribed a particular routine to follow. But it is easy to neglect healthier lifestyle choices when we do not have any sickness to worry about.  Whether you have the disease or not, here are some practices you can take note of:

  1. Make A Diet Plan

Often, we forget to eat healthy because of the alluring temptation of craving for greasy and high-fat food. Although we know what we have to eat, sometimes we lack the discipline. So, it is better to have a written diet plan to help you organize your food intake and keep you disciplined and motivated by tracking down your meals.

  1. Make An Easy Workout Plan

Much like the diet plan, you should also have a workout plan. It does not need to be strenuous. You have to move your muscles regularly and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. There are a lot of five- to ten-minute workouts available online. As much as possible, engage in a routine that is easy and enjoyable so that you will not lose motivation in doing it.

  1. Manage Your Time

This one is critical in reducing stress. With the demands of work and a hectic schedule, we often find ourselves scrambling to finish tasks and meet deadlines. It is one of the leading causes of high-stress levels among adults.

So, as much as possible, budget your time, keep a schedule and be disciplined to work on tasks because having a good workflow reduces stress and anxiety.

Notice that these tips apply to everyone even those without autoimmune disease; however, these are just a few of the practices that are critical in taking care of our bodies. Remember that the immune system is only as good as how we take care of it.

“People need time off from work to recover from stress and prevent burnout,” said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA.

Therefore, following these natural and practical routines will boost our body’s defense system and help with the prevention and healing of autoimmune diseases or any sickness for that matter.

Autoimmune diseases, as you undoubtedly know by now, take forever to get diagnosed. If you consult a specialist regarding the symptoms that keep on coming back at the age of 21, you might only receive a confirmation when you reach 25 or 30 years old. Some people tend to obtain a misdiagnosis as well, especially the illness brings forth other diseases. What happens then is that the problem does not get addressed as a whole.

Nevertheless, a real diagnosis cannot make your stress level go down, for the reasons that:

1. There’s No Cure

Hearing a medical professional say that all your symptoms are because of autoimmune disease does not entail that treating it will now be easy. In reality, there is not even a cure for this kind of condition. The doctors can prescribe multiple drugs to you, but they can merely keep other illnesses from progressing. They cannot make the disease go away.

why-getting-diagnosed-with-autoimmune-disease-doesnt-mean-the-end-of-your-stress-1

Source: unsplash.com

“For starters, exercise releases endorphins, the body’s “feel-good hormones,” that can calm the mind and relax the body”, said Jenny C. Yip, PsyD, ABPP.

2. Doing Many Physical Activities Will Remain Problematic

According to the individuals who have been diagnosed with autoimmunity, this confirmation solidified the fact that they may never feel 100% energized. You can sleep the entire day; you can relax, eat, and relax. However, before lunch comes the next day, you might become so tired that the complete rest from yesterday did not seem to do anything for you. That is the reason why you may only be able to work for a couple of hours a day or travel short distances alone.

“Keep current about the benefits of exercise and the outdoors and share that information.” – Jennifer Lager, PsyD

3. You Have To Pay Many Doctors

Autoimmune disease tends to stress you out financially as well because you likely need to receive health monitoring from different specialists. You cannot insist on meeting one doctor since autoimmunity does not merely target a single body part. It can affect practically everything, from the bones to the internal organs to the skin. If your kidneys act up first, you have to see a nephrologist. In case you develop arthritis, you have to go to a rheumatologist. As the list of body parts that require medical attention lengthens, so does the bill that you ought to pay for after every check-up.

why-getting-diagnosed-with-autoimmune-disease-doesnt-mean-the-end-of-your-stress

Source: unsplash.com

4. Convincing People About Your Disease Is A Challenge

Telling colleagues and acquaintances that you cannot attend this function or go to that special gathering because your autoimmune illness is on attack mode is not always stress-free either. It is not a common condition, after all, so folks who have never heard about the disease until now might assume that you are only making it up to skip the event. Others may accept that you feel ill, but they might think that you’ll feel better after taking paracetamol or something. It may take a while for such people to realize that your illness is not a product of your imagination.

5. You Cannot Be Independent

Like we’ve mentioned earlier, autoimmunity limits the things you can do physically on your own. Even the simple task of loading and unloading your washing machine at home may be difficult at times; that’s why you might need assistance from your spouse or another family member. Going around the supermarket to get your supplies can be hard as well, so you may have to rely on the delivery service that the local grocery store provides.

why-getting-diagnosed-with-autoimmune-disease-doesnt-mean-the-end-of-your-stress

Source: unsplash.com

Final Thoughts

Autoimmune disease can be stressful to deal and live with – that is for sure. You cannot go anywhere without feeling exhausted. You ought to take a lot of pills every day for various illnesses that you may have contracted due to your immune system turning against you. Nevertheless, take things one step at a time. You will eventually manage to understand your autoimmunity – just don’t expect it to happen as soon as you get the diagnosis.

Take note about what Erin Mendoza, PsyD said: “Self-compassion is not tough love or false hope, but connecting the pain with understanding, curiosity, and a sincere wish for relief based in kindness and love rather than criticism and disgust.”

Source: blogspot.com

 

The immune system plays a significant role during pregnancy, protecting the mother against infections and diseases that may harm the fetus.   A pregnant woman’s immune system slightly weakens making her prone to coughs, colds, fever, and flu.   A pregnant woman can get by with cold and flu, but it is the medicine that is sometimes not good for the baby.

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Source: carolinasnaturalhealth.com

In most cases, a healthy and typical immune system will fight off bacteria, viruses, and infection. However, there are individuals whose immune system doesn’t work the same as this. This condition is called an autoimmune disorder. It is when the immune system recognizes healthy tissues as invaders and attacks them. As a result, this will induce adverse effects to distinct parts of the body.

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Source: conversantbio.com

Autoimmune disorders are more common than you might think; yet, many are confused about what it is. To clarify all your questions, here are five quick facts and statistics about Autoimmune disorders.

 

  1. Autoimmune disorders are diseases that affect the immune system.

 

More specifically, the disorder pertains to the immune system’s inability to distinguish healthy cells from the unhealthy. Usually, the immune system tells the antibodies to attack unhealthy cells. But with this disorder, the immune system signals the antibodies to attack the healthy ones by mistake.

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Did you know that in a human body lies our immune system which is supposed to defend it from foreign bacteria and germs? However, this system sometimes makes a mistake when distinguishing cells and in return, it attacks your own cell. A lot of trouble can build up and hence, an Autoimmune Disease comes in the picture.

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Source: transformativewellbeing.org

 

There are a lot of autoimmune disorders. There are at least over a hundred autoimmune diseases as far as studies have been recorded. These conditions, although varying from each other, shows the same symptoms like a headache, fatigue, feeling pain and hotness all over the body.

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