Sane advise from somone with mental health problems
Yes lupus can affect the brain and a mental health team or psychiatric help may be usefull.
Lupus can cause depression and I think also that Hughes syndrome may have links with a number of mental health symptoms.
Mental health help and even medication may be worth looking into, and I think that some of the non medication techniques used to help prevent depression may be usefull for anyone with lupus.
I'm not sure how common my mental health problems are for others with lupus but thought I'd share my experience as I personally had a really horrible mental health problem not long after being diagnosed with lupus when I was in a bad lupus flare up.
The Drs call it "hypomania" or sometimes call it "affective disorder" and basically it was like the "high" that people with bipolar disorder get. The Hypomania was put down to my lupus and even queried as a side effect of plaquenil (allthough I'm still on the hydroxychloroquine and I've not had to have any brain scans or anything).
The main symptoms were elevated mood, increased confidence, and racing thoughts with lots of ideas.
This may sound great to any of you who are depressed but the hypomanic symptoms included a really "messed up" sleep pattern, grandious ideas, pressurized fast talking, writing down everything, confusion, irritability, loss of inhibitions, and spending sprees which seroiusly worried those around me.
I thought I was fine and just "getting better" after starting plaquenil and coming out of a depression linked to geting my lupus diagnosis and having to give my career, but I was seroiusly ill and ended up on a psyciatric ward (I even had to be "sectioned" for a short while as I really did not have the insight to see that my mental health was not normal.)
Since that first experience I've had a mental health team to support me and I'm really pleased with how they have helped me. I'm prone to getting hypomania attacks when my lupus flares up. These manic phases require medication and lots of support from my team whilst I'm in an attack. (I can even have home visit support if needed) However I don't need regular medication for the hypomania unless I'm actually in or just starting to get into a manic state
I have to see my psychiatrist about twice a year just to keep a check on things but fortunately my hypomania has never got as bad as my first attack so I've kept out of the pschyiatric ward (I'm now "officially sane"!:lol: )
My attacks nearly always seem to happen when other symptoms are flaring up and I now know that I'm more sun sensitive than I thought I was, (in the past being out in too much sun without adequate protection has caused hypomanic symptoms to start.)
Just knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for/ knowing I can call the mental health team if needed have all helped me keep this aspect of my lupus in control
If anyone reading this has had a similar or other mental health problem please also don't be affraid to get help because of stigma associated with it being a "mental" problem rather than a physical one. (I say the "mad" ones are those who don't seek help rather than those who do!)
Top ten positive steps for mental health are:-
Accepting who you are
Talking about it
Learning new skills
Keeping in touch with friends
Doing something creative
Asking for help