Autoimmune Disease: You Think You Might Have it?


Autoimmune disorder mistakenly attacks the healthy cells in your body that can cause an overall impact. There are tons of their types, and each one has its unique symptoms that range from mild to severe cases. Since there has been an increase in autoimmune incidents, researchers are now studying its environmental factor. For instance, exposure to some different types of chemicals can set off an immune response.

Given that there is still no exact evidence of its origin, it could take time to diagnose such disease. However, some of its classic signs are determined through the case of inflammation, fatigue, and muscle aches.

Continue reading “Autoimmune Disease: You Think You Might Have it?”

Knowing The Essentials At The Oklahoma Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month


Part of the goals of the Oklahoma Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month is to educate the people on the prevalence, and risk factors, and the extreme lack of awareness of the public about autoimmune illnesses. The AARDA (American Autoimmune Related Disease Association) works with community leaders to organize activities and events that help educate the people of the most important points that one must know about autoimmune illnesses. These include:

  • There are more than a hundred autoimmune illnesses in all, which include but are not limited to celiac disease, Addison’s disease, vasculitis, and Crohn’s disease.
  • There are about 50 million people in America with an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur in groups. For instance, if you have a relative who has scleroderma, there’s a higher risk that you will develop an autoimmune disease.
  • Only 13% of Americans can name an autoimmune illness.
  • Women are more likely to be affected by autoimmune diseases than men. In fact, autoimmune diseases are among the ten most deadly killers of women 65 years and below.

These details have pushed the AARDA’s President, Virginia Ladd, to increase the level of awareness among the public. According to her, the incidence of some autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis have shown to be increasing yearly, yet solutions to this dilemma are still unknown. She also says that it is important for people to be more vigilant of the factors that make vulnerable to developing autoimmune diseases so that if and when symptoms occur, they can seek help early and begin treatment. Diagnosis and treatment at an earlier stage of the disease make a huge difference in one’s chances of becoming incapacitated or suffering organ failure.


Organizing events such as this one encourages community members to help in their own little ways in the elimination of autoimmune diseases and the relief of symptoms. It also fosters collaboration, public awareness, and improvement of inpatient services in all areas of the country.


What You Need To Do To Be Happier

Being happy is an easy thing to do, as long as you know the steps to follow to make it happen. Make sure that you put several efforts into adding more positivity and happiness in your life. Take note that these are the secrets to having a beautiful life. Do not miss your chance to live the life that you deserve. As early as now, promise yourself that you will do whatever it takes to become happier more than ever. In this article, we are going to provide you with some tips and tricks on how you can achieve a better and happier you.




“What do you do when you feel like you need a little boost, especially when you’re feeling bad or for every day just to add some good vibrations to your routine?” – Andrea Kane Frank, MS, LCPC, CAPP


Believe In Yourself


The first step that you must do is to look at yourself in the mirror every day and remind yourself how great and amazing you are. You have to make an effort to recognize all your great qualities. Stop having doubts about yourself because it can only increase the bad vibes for the day. Instead, take a moment to list down the reasons why you are a fantastic human being. Once you master this, it will be a lot easier for you to put a smile on your face and to inspire others.


Build Friendships


One of the ways on how you can become happy is to establish connections to like-minded individuals. Make friends with people whom you think can have a good influence over you. Do not be afraid to foster relationships with others, especially if you think that these persons are helping you to feel better about yourself. On the other hand, never have doubts about walking away from people who continue to bring you down. Keep in mind that they are the ones who can prevent you from experiencing a good life.




“Living in constant stress mode will make you sick indeed.” – Allan R. Cohen, PsyD


Be Physically Active


Another thing that you must consider is to follow a healthy lifestyle by being physically active. Find time to go to the gym, do a quick morning run, try yoga outdoors, or perform home exercises. Take note that you must never be too busy when it comes to exercising. When you become physically active, you are not only preventing yourself in experiencing illnesses. At the same time, you are also contributing to your overall mental wellness. As a result, you will become happier than ever.


Avoid Stress At All Costs


Of course, you must also convince yourself to try to avoid any forms of stress. Learn how to determine what are those that annoy you easily and avoid them. At the same time, figure out the kinds of persons that make it easy for you to get angry. Make sure that you find a way to keep them at a distance. In so doing, you will begin to feel better about your days. Take note that you are the one who can control your thoughts. Be sure that you will only think of positive thoughts at all times.


“Much of what you may be fantasizing about may not be accurate, so letting go of your thoughts and addressing how they impact your feelings, are crucial steps in moving on.” – Rachel Dack, LCPC




The secrets to having a better life are provided above. All you have to do is to familiarize them and make it a way of life!


How To Handle A Loved One Suffering From An Illness

Is your loved one suffering from a chronic illness? Does it break your heart to see him suffer from pain? Are you interested in eliminating his stress and anxiety? If you answered yes to all these, then it is time for you to consider reading the rest of this article. For today’s write up, we are going to focus on the different ways on how you can help a loved one with a chronic illness.




Before you proceed, you need to consider the reality that your loved one may change his personality or attitude because of the illness. Remind yourself that he is suffering from excruciating pain and there are only baby steps available for him to make things right. Because of this, you must see to it that he remains positive despite the adversities. Below are some of the top techniques that you must-do if you want to handle a loved one who is suffering from a chronic illness:


Bridget Levy, LCPC said “You need to know what you like and dislike, what you’re comfortable with versus what scares you, and how you want to be treated in given situations.”


Learn About The Illness


As much as possible, find time to educate yourself about the medical condition of the other person. Accompany him in the medical checkup so that you can also have a one-on-one conversation with his physician. Do not forget to inquire about the signs and symptoms of the medical condition. Keep yourself informed at all times because it can help you think of better ways on how you can deal with the other person.




Be Available At All Times


Now is the time of your loved one’s life that he needs you the most. As such, you must make him feel that you are available at all times. You must give him a guarantee that you will be around whenever he needs help or assistance. Aside from this, it is also essential for you to give him comforting words so that he will start to feel better. Be ready whenever he needs to discuss his frustrations and problems. Be his source of strength and energy.


Andrea Kane Frank, MS, LCPC, CAPP said “It’s great to surprise someone with appreciation or to just say hello.”


Keep Your Cool


Always put in mind that the way you act around your loved one has a lot of effect on his mindset. Because of this, it is ideal if you will make an effort to remain calm and cool about his sickness. Stop making a big fuss or deal out of it as it can only increase his stress levels. You can show your care and affection to the other person but avoid overdoing it. Otherwise, you will end up offending him or making him feel that he is worthless. For sure, you do not want him to experience self-pity. As such, the right thing to do is to cheer him up every chance that you can get. Avoid showing him that you are sad or problematic because of his condition. Be a ray of sunshine that will make him smile every now and then.




Take note of the tips and techniques mentioned above and be prepared to experience better days with your loved ones. Do not let his chronic illness make you grow apart from each other.


Deborah Serani, PsyD said “What you say can have a powerful impact on your loved one.”

What Happens Next If You Have A Chronic Illness?

Many people are afraid to go through an executive medical checkup because they are afraid of the possible diagnosis. Several individuals do not want to find out that they are suffering from an illness. The reason behind this is that they have no idea how they can survive the difficult and challenging time. Aside from this, they are also afraid of the reality that their disease or medical condition can make them suffer.




“People who live with chronic illness in themselves or a close loved one have to create their own way to manage, but there are some common factors when people find themselves faced with permanent life challenges.” – Lynne Silva-Breen, MDiv, MA, LMFT


If you are one of these persons, do not worry because what you are feeling is only reasonable. Take note that consulting with a doctor or physician is an essential task that you must never forget. Stop being afraid of the diagnosis that you can get. Instead, accept whatever the findings are and be stronger than your fears. In this article, our primary focus is providing you a list of things to consider if ever you find out that you have a chronic illness. What are the logical steps that you must do?


Ask Your Physician


The first step that you must do is to ask inquiries or questions to your medical doctor. As much as possible, ask all the things that you are confused about. Never make the mistake of assuming certain information. Do not resort to the availability of free resources on the Internet. The right thing that you can do is to learn how to listen to your doctor’s medical advice. Never let anyone or anything make you doubt your doctor’s findings.




“Have a safe place to express your feelings. This could be with loved ones, a therapist, a support group, or a journal.” – Rachel Fintzy Woods, MA, LMFT


Talk To Someone


Finding out that you are going to suffer from chronic illness can be disheartening. A big part of you will become interested in giving up. You may think that it is already the end of life. You will start to doubt your purpose and believe that you would rather lock up in your room than talk to others. Because of all this, the right advice that you must follow is to speak to someone. Open up about what you are feeling inside so that you can let it out. Talk to a friend or seek professional help if you think it is essential.


Get The Right Treatment


As already mentioned above, having a chronic illness does not mean that you will already die tomorrow. Take note that each illness or disease has a corresponding cure. All that you must do is ask for a list of medicines, which you have to take regularly. Make a promise to yourself that you will not miss even one tablet. Aside from this, you must also pay a regular visit to your physician so that he can administer the necessary treatment if possible. Remember that the process of getting treatment may be expensive, but it will be worth it once you start to get better. Focus on choosing the right medical doctor so that you will not encounter any problem at all.




“Comply with your treatment plan. If you’re engaged in your treatment, you’ll be more invested in it. Missing doses or appointments can increase symptoms. Be as consistent as possible.” – Andrea M. Risi, LPC


Chronic illness can drive you crazy if you allow it to make you worry a lot. As such, it is ideal to follow the tips we mentioned above.


A Guideline In Prioritizing Your Mental Health

There are many things that you must always keep in mind when it comes to taking good care of yourself. First of all, you must understand that self-care is not limited to physical health only. Keep in mind that no matter how much you drink vitamins or eat right, you will never achieve overall wellness. What is important is that you also find time to focus on your mental health.




Andrea M. Risi, LPC said “Put yourself first. It may sound selfish, but if you’re not healthy, you won’t be able to give of yourself to others. If you need to take a break, take it. Realize your limits and set boundaries with others.”


Not everyone knows this, but the reality is that a person suffers from depression or anxiety because he has a low level of mental wellness. If you end up becoming like this person, there is a high tendency that your life will fall into pieces. You may think that you no longer have a reason to keep going in life. As a result, you will become more interested in hurting yourself than getting better. Because of this, we want to provide you with a list of guidelines to remember so that you can start prioritizing your mental health.


Below are some of the things that you need to know:


Live A Healthy Lifestyle


Avoid having a sedentary lifestyle where all that you would do is to sleep the entire weekend or sit in the office all day. As much as possible, focus on becoming active. Find time to exercise despite having a hectic schedule. Remind yourself that exercise can improve not only your medical condition but also your mental health. The more you do physical activities, the happier you may become. If this happens for a long time, your mental awareness will keep on improving.




According to Casey Radle, LPC, “When we are in distress and lack feelings of safety, our thinking brain is hijacked by our emotional limbic system and we move into primitive drives to fight or flight.”


Walk Away From Negative People


One of the things that you must consider at this point is to filter your relationships with other people. Do not be afraid to determine those who deserve to stay in your life and those that you must let go as soon as possible. Take note that the kind of persons that you surround yourself with affect how you view life. As such, if you are always in a company of positive individuals, then there is a high chance that you will also end up just like them.


Be True To Yourself


Another thing that you must always instill in your mind is the importance of living life with a balance between ideals and reality. It is normal to think of several ideals, especially if you have so much positivity in yourself. Nonetheless, it is still best to remind yourself of the reality that you encounter daily. Stop lying to yourself because it can only make matters worse. If something is wrong in your life, accept it so that you can think of better ways on how to handle it. Otherwise, you will only end up running away from your problems. If this happens for a long time, you will get more frustrated each day until you suffer depression.




“It is about prioritizing our needs so we can be “fully present when caring for or connecting with others,” said Kirsten Brunner, MA, LPC.


Always prioritize your mental health. Start today so that you can reap its benefits!


Depression And SLE – When To Get Therapy


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.

  • 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.”


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.



How To Handle Stress Caused By Autoimmune Diseases

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.




In today’s article, our focus would be on 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 on 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 calmly. 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 effort 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.




Life is too short to keep on worrying about 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.

Never Ignore These Scary Signs Of Autoimmune Disorder


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.


“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.


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


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.