Autoimmune Disease Symptoms

Our immune and nervous systems work in parallel to protect us from danger. So it’s no coincidence so many people with autoimmune disease (AID) symptoms report experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression.

The immune system analyzes and reacts to foreign molecules like viruses or bacterial infections entering the body. It fights infections by memorizing the foreign cells and attacking everything that appears to be the same.

When the immune system works properly, temporary inflammation occurs as part of the normal healing process as can be seen in real-time with simple injury like a paper cut. Conversely, when the immune system over-reacts it can’t shut down and inflammation becomes the problem.

After a serious illness, accident or other trauma the adaptive immune system can become dysregulated and attack healthy cells, causing chronic inflammation and eventually, autoimmune disease.

Common symptoms of autoimmune disease

There are currently over ninety autoimmune diseases.  Many have common symptoms comparatively,  with inflammation being the hallmark symptom. For more information visit the autoimmune association website at autoimmune.org

Joint & muscle

  • pain
  • stiffness
  • swelling
  • inflammation

Digestive tract

  • bloating
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain
  • bloody stool
  • nausea
  • acid reflux


  • rashes
  • itching
  • dry eyes, skin
  • hair loss

Nervous System

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • Blurry vision
  • confusion

Environmental triggers of autoimmune symptoms.

The latest research finds that when autoimmune disease runs in your family, a number of environmental triggers can cause an AID to develop.


  • Toxins – Chemicals in food and in the air.
  • Food Choices & Gut Health – highly processed and inflammatory foods.
  • Serious Infections – Viruses, bacteria
  • Stress – Childhood trauma, abuse, accidents, illness, loss of loved ones

The primative immune system is challenged by modern chronic stress

The definition of stress has evolved over time from predation and natural disasters to economic insecurity to interpersonal conflicts.

Our internal fight, flight, freeze, or fawn system is wired to keep us safe from pre-historic, imminent danger. However, the immune system has trouble with the constant low-grade stress that many of us deal with daily.

Living in a continuous fight, flight, or freeze hyper-vigilant state causes our nervous system to pull resources from our digestive, immune, elimination, and higher brain systems.

Constant wear on the body compromises the immune system causing it to overreact, dysregulate, and malfunction, straightaway damaging tissue and cells. Undoubtedly our bodies become inflamed and we get slowed down by reactive headaches, digestive issues, fatigue, and pain.

Inflammation related mental health disorders

There is an overlap between physical sickness and depression symptoms including somatic responses such as fatigue, foggy brain, and sleep disturbance.

Immune activation can quickly bring about these depression-like symptoms and consequently rapidly accelerate a network of brain areas that are very similar to those associated with stress and depression.

Understanding what determines the risk of depression following immune activation could be important for further developing targeted strategies specifically for the treatment and prevention of inflammation-related depression.

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Are you interested in learning more about treating your autoimmune disease symptoms through better mental health?

Click the link below and take a minute to reach out. I’ll give you a call and we can determine if EMDR is a good option for you.

Autoimmune disease treatment is multi-faceted

Given the intricate relationship happening inside the body, addressing both the physical and mental health aspects of autoimmune disorders is essential for comprehensive treatment and improved outcomes.

Therefore therapeutic approaches that target both psychological well-being and physical symptoms, such as mindfulness-based interventions and EMDR, can be beneficial in supporting individuals with autoimmune disorders.

Close collaboration between medical professionals and mental health providers can be crucial for integrated care.

Healthy stress management can improve impact of AID symptoms.

Stress has a direct effect on autoimmune disease. Undoubtedly significant mental stress can put the body on constant high alert and physically agitate the immune system triggering the disease in people with a genetic predisposition.

Aside from stress being a leading trigger of AID,  diagnosis and management of the disease itself has an impact on mental health that can foster a cycle of depression, anxiety, inflammation, and symptom flare-ups.

Physical health nurtures mental health

Living a healthy lifestyle is important. Proper daily nutrition and exercise are significant factors to longevity and mental health. Consult a nutritionist and work together to determine if particular foods are causing inflammation. Similarly a physical therapist or trainer can help with an appropriate fitness plan.

EMDR therapy addresses chronic stress

EMDR can help you simoultanously gain a better mind-body connection and build a lasting offense against systemic inflammation and mental health disorders.

Types of medications used to treat autoimmune disease symptoms

  • Sleeping aids
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Anti-depressants
  • Pain killers
  • Insulin
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immune system suppressors

EMDR therapy addresses the root of inflammation

Chronic illness can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, leading to recurring feelings of depression, anxiety, and social isolation.

It can take several years of managing autoimmune disease symptoms before the doctor gives a diagnosis because the characteristics of many autoimmune diseases are the same or similar.

If you have autoimmune disease symptoms and chronic stress, schedule a call with me and we can determine if EMDR therapy can help.