We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Neuropsychiatric Lupus?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Neuropsychiatric lupus is a blanket term used to describe the neurological and psychiatric symptoms which emerge in 10 to 30% of patients diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, the most serious form of lupus. Many people refer to systemic lupus erythematosus as simply “lupus,” since it is the most common form of this autoimmune disorder, in addition to being the most serious. Treatment for neuropsychiatric lupus focuses on addressing the underlying lupus and the neuropsychiatric symptoms with the goal of keeping the patient as comfortable as possible.

Like other autoimmune disorders, lupus is characterized by a profound malfunction of the immune system. In patients with lupus, the immune system gets confused and starts attacking itself, causing inflammation, internal legions, damage to the internal organs, and a variety of other symptoms. Historically, lupus was always fatal, but modern medical treatments have made management of lupus much easier, greatly reducing the fatality rate. Survival rates of up to 20 years with lupus are not uncommon in regions where people have access to high quality medical care.

In some patients, in addition to the expected lupus symptoms, neuropsychiatric symptoms emerge. The two most common hallmarks of neuropsychiatric lupus are frequent severe headaches and a radical decline in motor function. Many people with this condition also experience gait problems, having difficulty walking and balancing. Depression, strokes, psychosis, dementia, delirium, cognitive dysfunction, movement disorders, and impaired memory are also associated with neuropsychiatric lupus.

You may also hear neuropsychiatric lupus referred to as neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE). The precise causes of neuropsychiatric symptoms are not really understood. Some doctors theorize that the condition is related to inflammation and lesions in the brain, which would explain many of the symptoms, although patients with NPSLE do not always exhibit a marked increase in inflammation and lesions. Damage to the internal organs may also be a contributor to the development of neuropsychiatric lupus.

Usually, neuropsychiatric symptoms emerge after someone has already been diagnosed with lupus. This helps doctors narrow down the cause of the symptoms, as a wide variety of conditions can cause similar physical and cognitive symptoms. Various medications may be used to address the symptoms, and the lupus treatment may also be adjusted to accommodate the neuropsychiatric lupus. Patients with severe cases may be obliged to arrange for in-home care or a stay in a residential facility, as they can become a danger to themselves or others, especially as the impairment progresses.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By GammyJean — On Jun 21, 2016

I developed SLE when I was31. I am now 61 and have survived by staying out of the sun and avoiding crowds to minimize the respiratory infections I am prone to resulting from the immune suppressing medications that are the only common treatments given for SLE. I had one period of 2-3 yeas where the Lupus was in a complete remission, but that remission ended with a horse related accident in 2001. My only recommendation is to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, exercise sensibly, and generally follow good basic health guidelines to avoid secondary infections. And good luck to you all.

By Bhutan — On Jun 08, 2011

@SurNTurf - Wow, that is really hard to deal with because I would imagine that it must be hard to sleep when you have lupus because this disease leaves you with constant pain.

I read that many people with lupus also lose some of their hair and develop dizziness and seizures. They can also develop a rash across the face as well as develop heart and kidney problems. I also read that people with this condition have a high chance of developing anemia.

The good thing is that there are making advances in medicine every day and there are a number of experimental medications that they are working with to lessen some of these symptoms.

By surfNturf — On Jun 06, 2011

I just wanted to say that my father in law’s wife has lupus and fibromyalgia and I think that both conditions are related to each other.

She does have a lot of muscular pain and has limited mobility because of the intense pain that she also feels in her joints. It is really a difficult set of conditions because on top of the pain, my father in law’s wife also feels very tired all of the time.

She also has bruises throughout her skin due to the lupus. It is really sad, but she said that she is going to go to a local support group at her local hospital because the lupus and the fibromyalgia have made her really depressed.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.