Scientists Discover “Startling” Levels of Hidden Mental Health Symptoms Among Autoimmune Disease Patients

From University of Cambridge: Complete Post through this link…

Experts urge immediate mental health assistance for patients with autoimmune diseases.

Over 50% of patients with autoimmune disorders suffer from mental health issues like depression or anxiety. However, most of these patients are seldom, if ever, questioned about these symptoms in clinical settings, according to recent research from the University of Cambridge and King’s College London.

A recent study published in the journal Rheumatology indicates that a significant portion of these patients infrequently or never disclose their mental health concerns to medical professionals. Additionally, the spectrum of potential mental and neurological symptoms is broader than previously thought.

The 30 symptoms that the team asked about included fatigue, hallucinations, anxiety, and depression. Among the patients in the study, experience of most of these symptoms was very widespread.

55% of SARD patients were experiencing depression, 57% experiencing anxiety, 89% had experienced severe fatigue and 70% had experienced cognitive dysfunction, for example. The overall prevalence of symptoms was significantly higher than previously thought, and much higher than in a control group of healthy volunteers.

The mental health symptoms described by patients contrasted strongly with clinician estimates. For example, three times as many lupus patients reported experiencing suicidal thoughts compared to the estimate by clinicians (47% versus 15%). Clinicians were often surprised and concerned by the frequency and wide range of symptoms that patients reported to the researchers.

Some clinicians were much more focused on joint symptoms over mental health symptoms as they held the opinion that SARDs do not commonly affect the brain.

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