Psychosis and other neurological disorders
The brain can also be affected by lupus, just like any other organ of the body. Psychosis is the most common complaint in lupus patients. Hallucinations, mood disorders, depression, paranoia, and confusion are major psychiatric disorders that can arise in these patients. Neurological disorders occur in about 25-75% of SLE patients, and major disorders are seizures, encephalopathy, aseptic meningitis, myelopathy, neuropathy, and demyelinating diseases.
Neurological exam and ANA test can provide great help in ruling out other causes. Single positron emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans are often ordered in such circumstances in order to assess the blood flow to specific areas of the brain. Certain studies believe that cognitive therapy and proper medication can improve the symptoms of the patient and reduce the chances of aggravations and further complications. 20% of patients would also experience impairment of their memory function. CNS vasculitis can give rise to migraine-like headaches and raised intracranial pressure.
Depression and anxiety occur in 1/3rd of the lupus patients. Mental fatigue, sense of hopelessness and helplessness are significant warning signs of severe depression in lupus patients. There’s a higher prevalence of depression among lupus patients as compared to healthy population, and more research is needed to establish a relation between these two diseases.