Depression and Scleroderma

Author: Janey Willis. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer.
With Autoimmunity
Personal Stories


Depression is a serious sadness that may or may not have a reason. For people with scleroderma or another chronic illness, depression is a natural reaction to the diagnosis, the symptoms, and changes in the quality of life. Unfortunately, depression can add to the physical problems presented by the disease; therefore, depression needs to be addressed and reduced as much as possible.

Insomnia treatment may help ease depression during menopause. Women going through menopause may have fewer symptoms of depression when they get treatment for insomnia than when they don't, a recent experiment suggests. Reuters Health, 01/18/2019. (Also see Sleep Disorders)

Facebook posts may point to depression, study finds. People’s Facebook posts might predict whether they are suffering from depression, researchers reported on Monday. NBC Health News, 10/12/2018.

The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Health. The potentially harmful effects of loneliness and social isolation on health and longevity, especially among older adults, are well established. New York Times, 12/11/2017. (Also see Stress)

People With Sick Pets Have More Anxiety and Depression. New research suggests that when people care for ill pets, they have more depression, anxiety and caregiving distress, the study authors say. Time Healthland, 09/18/2017.

What are 'depression naps' and are they a sign of trouble? A variety of studies indicate that between 65 to 90 percent of adult patients with major depression experience some type of sleep problem. Health Today, 08/11/2017. (Also see Sleep Disorders)

Work at home? Watch out! You're more likely to suffer insomnia, stress and depression. Working from home may be saving you commuting time, but it could also be causing insomnia, stress and depression, a new report says. Mail Online, 02/15/2017. (Also see Sleep Disorders and Stress)

Blue Monday: The ‘Most Depressing Day of the Year’ Is Debunked. January 16 might have been dubbed 2017's "Blue Monday," but it is not – repeat not – the most depressing day of the year. NBC News, 01/16/2017.

Anxiety, Irritability May be First Warning of Depression in Kids. An early warning sign of depression in teenagers may not be sadness, but rather anxious and even irritable behavior, British researchers reported. NBC Health News, 12/09/2016.

Teen Depression Treatment Is an Increasingly Thorny Issue. Treating mood disorders in children and adolescents is a tricky business and the most commonly prescribed antidepressants often don’t help. Time Healthland, 06/08/2016.

6 Ways Your Siblings Affect Your Health. Close sibling connections are frequently associated with lower levels of loneliness and depression, and higher levels of self-esteem. Time Healthland, 03/17/2016.

Am I Depressed? Resources to help you determine if you are depressed. Depression. VeryWell.

Nobody Understands! by Deborah A. Barrett, Ph.D.

Check All Adults for Depression, Especially New Moms, Panel Says. All adults should be regularly screened for depression, especially pregnant women and new mothers, government advisers said. NBC Health News, 01/26/2016.

Depression and Autoimmunity

Association between gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and depression in parents: a retrospective cohort study. GDM is associated with an increased risk of depression in women particularly during pregnancy highlighting the need to screen for depression and provide supportive interventions during this period. PubMed, Clin Epidemiol, 2018 Dec 3;10:1827-1838. (Also see Support for Diabetes)

Association of Depression With Risk of Incident Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in Women Assessed Across 2 Decades. This study contributes to increasing evidence that depression may be associated with increased risk of SLE. PubMed, JAMA Psychiatry, 2018 Dec 1;75(12):1225-1233. (Also see Symptoms and Complications of Lupus)

Depression and anxiety in systemic lupus erythematosus: The crosstalk between immunological, clinical, and psychosocial factors. Despite also suffering from the pain and disability that accompanies chronic autoimmune disease, the rheumatoid arthritis patients had less anxiety and better relationship scores. PubMed, Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Jul;97(28):e11376. (Also see Symptoms and Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis)

The effect of depressive symptoms on cognition in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). FM patients show a cluster of cognitive impairment in the attentional and executive domains; some of the symptoms could be explained by depression, while others seem to depend on fibromyalgia. PubMed, PLoS One, 2018 Jul 5;13(7):e0200057. (Also see Fibromyalgia)

Illness perception is significantly determined by depression and anxiety in systemic lupus erythematosus. The study has proved a significant relationship between negative illness perception and anxiety and depression. PubMed, Lupus, 2018 Mar;27(3):454-460.

Depression and fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS): Relation to exposure to violence and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) immunomarkers. The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between depression, fatigue, and exposure to violence, with IL-6 and IL-8 levels in the CSF of MS patients. PubMed, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2018 Jan 4;89:53-58. (Also see Multiple Sclerosis and Fatigue)

Association between cortisol levels and pain threshold in systemic sclerosis and major depression. The effect of cortisol serum levels upon pain mechanism, in chronic inflammatory conditions warrants longitudinal studies to detect treatable variations in pain thresholds, depressive symptoms and to improve quality of life. PubMed, Rheumatol Int, 10/30/2017. (Also see Pain Management)

Psoriasis, Depression, and Suicidality. Age and severity of disease are significant with a clear association of increased depression and suicidality found in patients who are younger or have more severe disease. PubMed, Skin Therapy Lett, 2017 May;22(3):1-4. (Also see Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis and Suicide Prevention)

The association between pain and sleep in fibromyalgia. Future studies should also consider mood disorders and emotional dysfunction, as comorbid conditions could occur with both pain and sleep disorder in fibromyalgia. PubMed, Saudi Med J, 2017 May;38(5):465-475. (Also see Fibromyalgia)

Depression in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH): An undertreated comorbidity. The aim of this article is to review the current thought process about diagnosis and management of depression in PAH patients. PubMed, Lung India, 2016 Jan-Feb;33(1):58-63. (Also see Pulmonary Hypertension Symptoms and Complications)

Characterizing the phenotype of multiple sclerosis (MS)–associated depression in comparison with idiopathic major depression. The clinical phenotype of “idiopathic” major depressive disorder and MS–associated depression appears similar when adequately examined. PubMed, Mult Scler, 01/08/2016. (Also see Multiple Sclerosis)

Depression, anxiety, and quality of life in a large cohort of patients with rheumatic diseases: common, yet undertreated. For the management of depression and anxiety, an increased awareness among physicians dealing with rheumatologic patients is warranted in order to integrate detection and effective treatment of anxiety and depression into the routine clinical practice. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol. (Also see Rheumatic Diseases)


Resistance exercise linked to reduced depression symptoms. People who do resistance exercises like weight lifting and strength training may experience fewer depression symptoms, a research review suggests. Reuters Health, 06/13/2018.

Uric acid in major depressive and anxiety disorders. This large scale study suggests the involvement of decreased antioxidant status in affective disorders, and points to their potential as an avenue for treatment. Journal of Affective Disorders, 09/08/2017. (Also see Anxiety and Attitude)

This Type of Thinking Can Help with Depression. People who struggle with anxiety or depression often ruminate on negative thoughts and the secret to better mental health may be learning how not to dwell on these thoughts, according to new research. Time Healthland, 03/16/2017.

Diet and Depression


Antidepressants and alcohol: What happens if I drink alcohol? Mixing antidepressants and alcohol is discouraged. Mayo Clinic.


Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea and depression risk among older US adults. Compared to nondrinkers, drinking coffee or tea without any sweetener was associated with a lower risk for depression. Adding artificial sweeteners was associated with higher risks. Frequent consumption of sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, may increase depression risk among older adults, whereas coffee consumption may lower the risk. PubMed, PLoS One. (Also see Food Guide)

Personal Stories

Betty Fults: CREST Scleroderma I would like to talk with someone that has feeding tubes also. Maybe that will help me…

David B: Raynaud's I am fifty-one years old and suffer with Raynaud's, bipolar affective disorder, high anxiety and phobias for which I am unable to take medication…

Dawn M: Linear/Systemic Scleroderma My family and I were informed by the doctors, that the localized/linear form of scleroderma that I was diagnosed with, would never progress into the potentially fatal, systemic form…

Denise E: Diffuse Scleroderma I was first diagnosed with diffuse scleroderma in February 2002, but my symptoms began subtly in the summer of 2000…

Donna: CREST, Raynaud's, possible Fibromyalgia I was diagnosed with CREST (Limited Systemic Scleroderma) by a rheumatologist in 2006. This wasn't really a surprise to me as my mother was diagnosed with diffuse scleroderma in 1998…

Franchina: Systemic Sclerosis (Italy) I am sixty-one years old, and I discovered I had this illness eleven years ago. Most likely I had it two years before, but nobody understood what was wrong…

(Italiano) Franchina: Sclerosi Sistemica (Italia) Ho 61 anni, ho scoperto la mia malattia 11 anni fa ma sicuramente l'avevo gia 2 anni prima ma nessuno riusciva a capire niente…

Gail: Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD) They found I had Interstitial Cystitis, a positive ANA, and gastrointestinal dysmotility…

Heather A: Scleroderma (South Africa) My fingers started to curl up and I could not wear any rings on my fingers anymore as they were so swollen…

Jaci: MCTD and Autoimmune Hepatitis Out of fear of going back to the doctors, I tried just to live with it, whatever it was. What I found strange was that nobody seemed to noticed how terrible I was feeling, not even the doctors…

Janet Q: UTCD or MCTD I also experienced new symptoms; joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, very painful carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, back and neck pain, the list grew on and on…

Kym: Diffuse, CREST Scleroderma, Lupus and Fibromyalgia It all started with Raynaud's in my fingers and toes when I was about nineteen years old, in 1979…

Leslie R: Scleroderma, Vitiligo, Lupus, Anemia, Hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes He told me that I have scleroderma and explained what this disease is about. After suffering so long I finally got some answers…

Lucia: Scleroderma I was diagnosed with this illness in August of 2011. I am Colombian, 44 years old and have been a resident of the US for the past 6 years…

(Español/Spanish) Lucia: Esclerodermia Fui diagnosticada con esta enfermedad en agosto de 2011. Soy una mujer colombiana de 44 años y resido en los Estados Unidos desde hace 6…

Missy S: Lupus, Scleroderma, CREST and Depression They say I am not eligible for a medical card or disability. I have been fighting for four years…

Moroni: Husband with Systemic Sclerosis My husband was diagnosed with this illness two years ago. It all began with a cardiac arrhythmia. I took him to a cardiologist who performed an echocardiogram, where he realized that his heart had some damage…

(Español/Spanish) Moroni: Esposa de Paciente con Esclerosis Sistémica Mi esposo fue diagnosticado con esta enfermedad hace dos años, se le manifestó con una arritmia cardiaca, lo llevé a un cardiólogo y éste le realizó un ecocardiograma y se dio cuenta de que su corazón presentaba una restricción…

Nina: Fibromyalgia, Raynaud's, Limited Scleroderma/CREST That is when I found ISN! The volume of reliable, informative, trusted information that I found on this site completely overwhelmed me…

Rosebud: Diffuse Scleroderma My hands are the worst. They are completely swollen, red, itchy, with burning sensation and in pain constantly…

Rosemary F: Surviving Daughter of Diffuse Scleroderma Patient She tried to explain it, but it was hard for me to comprehend the disease's symptoms. Mom said that it was the same thing that her oldest sister died from…

Star S: Morphea and Systemic Scleroderma I was diagnosed with morphea at age seven. Now at age thirty-three, I have recently developed systemic scleroderma with gastrointestinal manifestations, Sjogren's syndrome, inflammatory arthritis, malabsorption…

Susie: CREST Syndrome I have had CREST syndrome for the past eight years. My specialist is Dr. Frederick Wigley, from Johns Hopkins…

Go to Living with Chronic Illness

Many thanks to our recent donors, Jack and Elizabeth Lewis. See ISN News for more donors. Click Here to Donate.


TOLL FREE HOTLINE, U.S. and Canada: 1-800-564-7099
Ask for our Free Info Packet by email or postal mail!

SCLERO.ORG is the world's leading nonprofit for trustworthy research, support, education and awareness for scleroderma and related illnesses.

We are a service of the nonprofit International Scleroderma Network (ISN), which is a 501(c)(3) U.S.-based public charitable foundation, established in 2002. Meet Our Team, or Volunteer. Donations may also be mailed to:

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
7455 France Ave So #266
Edina, MN 55435-4702 USA
Email [email protected] to request our Welcome email, report bad links, or update page content. Disclaimer. Privacy Policy.

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is!