Group Sessions Improve Coping Skills of Lupus Patients

Psychological support may lead to sustained improvement in quality of life

MONDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A psychological intervention tailored to the needs of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients may lead to a long-term improvement in mental health, according to a study in the October issue of the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

Matthias Schneider, M.D., and colleagues at Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf, followed 34 SLE patients, 91% of them female, from April 2002 through March 2003. After providing psychoeducational support that focused on information about the disease and the specific problems that SLE patients face, they measured the impact on coping abilities.

Over a six-month period, psychological and medical evaluations showed significant improvement in the areas of depression, anxiety and overall mental burden, according to study results. The group that did not receive intervention showed no significant changes.

"SLE can lead to a wide range of physical, mental and social problems," the authors write. "Adequate coping strategies, social support and the ability to deal with stress and negative emotions can enhance mental and physical well being in SLE patients."

The study was funded by the Alfried Krupp Foundation.

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