Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

  • Linda R. Kostyak
Part of the Springer Series in Rehabilitation and Health book series (SSRH)


Medical professionals have often called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) a “mysterious” illness because its confusing symptomatology has baffled the medical community for centuries. It is the product of an immune system gone awry, and, for this reason, it is capable of producing a variety of curious symptoms in virtually any organ or system of the body. A formal definition of SLE is “a chronic, inflammatory disease in which the body’s immune system, instead of serving its normal protective function, forms antibodies that attack healthy tissues and organs” (Lupus Foundation of America, Inc., 1990, p. 2). SLE is sometimes fatal, often debilitating, and, once diagnosed, always present; to date, research has found no definite cause, course, or cure. Current classifications list three types of lupus: (1) discoid lupus, which affects only skin by causing rashes and lesions; (2) drug-induced lupus, caused by a reaction to medications; and (3) systemic lupus erythematosus, which is most serious and systemwide. Although all three types of lupus receive mention in this chapter, the primary focus is on the most severe form, SLE., tracing the history, diagnosis, treatment, and implications for the field of psychology.


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Chronic Illness Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patient Psychological Symptom Behavioral Medicine 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda R. Kostyak
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA

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