Prevalence of Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Women With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

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To examine the lifetime prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Demographic and disease-related variables were examined for association with lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) and the presence of any mood or anxiety disorder.


Three hundred twenty-six white women with SLE completed the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire, a self-report measure of SLE disease activity. The binomial test was used to compare the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses in patients with SLE with a population sample of white women.


Sixty-five percent of the participants received a lifetime mood or anxiety diagnosis. MDD (47%), specific phobia (24%), panic disorder (16%), obsessive-compulsive disorder (9%), and bipolar I disorder (6%) were more common among patients with SLE than among other white women (P= 0.00009 for specific phobia; for all other valuesP= 0.00001). Although most patients with histories of mood disorders reported their psychiatric symptoms to a medical provider, a substantial number of patients with anxiety disorders did not. Self-reported disease activity was associated with a lifetime history of MDD (P= 0.001) and presence of a mood or anxiety disorder (P= 0.001), after controlling for demographic and clinical characteristics.


Several mood and anxiety disorders were more common in women with SLE compared with the general population, and disease activity may contribute to this higher risk. Brief self-report questionnaires may help providers identify patients with these conditions, particularly when patients are reluctant to disclose their symptoms.

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