Sometimes the mental and emotional effects of lupus can be related to the disease process itself or medications used to treat it. Common problems that may be associated with the disease include:
Cognitive dysfunction. Many people with lupus experience a variety of related problems including forgetfulness or difficulty thinking. They may describe these problems as feeling “fuzzy-headed” or being in a “lupus fog.” These problems often coincide with periods of increased disease activity, or flares. But cognitive problems can also be symptoms of depression.
Depression and anxiety. These can occur as a psychological reaction to having lupus or a side effect of treatment. They may also occur as a direct result of the disease process. Often it is difficult for doctors to sort out the actual cause.
Mood swings and personality changes. People with lupus may experience unpredictable changes in moods and personality traits. This can include feeling of anger and irritability. These may be related to the disease process or, in some cases, the use of corticosteroid medications.
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