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    Mental Health after being diagnosed with RA
    sdgirl8895 posted:
    Hi everyone,
    I was just diagnosed with RA in October '12 and have recently been told I could have Lupus (some of my blood test are positive ANA and dsDNA antibody) I am currently on Methotrexate, prednisone, folic acid, vitamin D, Vicodin, tramadol and flexeril. The side effects from the methotrexate are almost unbearable and making life horrible. I am starting to lose my hair, I have the most unbelievable acid reflux, I have no appetite, losing weight, headaches, anxiety attacks, sweating profusely (while sitting still) night sweats, fevers, mouth sores, muscle pain, etc... Now I have found lumps in my arms that are painful to the touch and I am wondering why I am taking this horrible medication???

    I had to take a leave of absence from the lab I work in and I am pretty sure I will lose my job soon (I am not covered under FMLA because I had been there less than a year) I feel like a crybaby sometimes, like now, I guess I am just needing to vent. I am starting to wonder if I will ever feel good again? I realize it takes time to get the medication straightened out and to "get used" to all that your body is dealing with.

    My biggest question there anything that is working for people on here concerning the mental health part of this disease? It doesn't need to be meds but anything that gives you some sort of pleasure or pain relief. I was very active before this all happened and many of the activities I loved to do I cannot do anymore. any suggestions would be appreciated!

    Thanks for listening and good luck to all of us!

    xperky responded:
    Stephanie, I can relate. All these medicines along with these's all so much. Sometimes I worry about ever feeling good again too. Then I'll have a better day and remember, and wish for a better future.

    In the meantime, the depression is something I fight too. I've always struggled with it though, so I have lots of tools in my box.

    One thing that helps me is a nice, hot bath. I have battery operated candles, and simple but nice objects in view. I put the lights down low and try to enjoy the relief of stiffness for a while.

    Meditation is a helpful tool as well. You don't have to get on the floor to do it! I would have too much trouble with that part...LOL.

    Last year I took up knitting and crochet. I'm learning via YouTube, etc. There was a rough spot when my right shoulder complained every time I knitted. I switched from "American" style to "Continental" style and it's much better on the joints. The yarns are soft, colorful and comforting, and it feels good to complete a project, since I can't complete much else in my life right now!

    Anyway, these are some of my distractions. I hope you find some too. Our lives are changed with these diseases.
    Born_to_be_blonde responded:
    Oh Stephanie, I am so sorry about you having to go through this. I have always had an issue with depression and was already on medication before I was diagnosed with RA in October '12 (Just like you!). I take Effexor and Buspar and they work great together. I have many of the same exact symptoms/side effects from all my medications. I take MTX (15 mg), folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin A, tramadol, loritabs, ativan, effexor & buspar. I have also lost quite a bit of hair, the awful awful nausea and acid reflux, no appetite, headaches, anxiety, night sweats, fevers, muscle pain, blah blah blah. So, now that that is out of the way this is what I have been doing to deal with all this stupid crap we have to deal with.

    For starters, if your low on energy, which I was/am and drinking things with caffine increase your nausea and/or acid reflux try asking your doctor for an appetite suppressent such as phentermine. I know it sounds silly since we already dont have an appetite but it gives you lots of energy without the jittery feeling. Having my energy back makes me feel better and since it increases my blood flow it seems that my pain medication works better. The better I feel equals the less depressed I feel.

    My MTX has just now started to kick in to reduce my pain and swelling (THANK THE LORD!!!!) and Im starting to feel normal. I was already diagnosed with MDD, major depressive disorder, so I was on medication for depression. I would HIGHLY recommend you get on something quick for your depression. The medication that you will be perscribed will take some time to work. I would suggest to make sure whatever the doctor perscribes you is an extended release. This seems to help with my nausea because the medication is released throughout the day and not all at once. If you are having ANY feeling of depression you NEED to get on something asap as well as start doing things that make you happy.

    Okay, now that the depression medication talk is out of the way, these are the other things to keep my mind occupied and happy.

    - Talk to friends, call them, instant message them, do whatever it takes for you to keep in touch. Listen to their problems. Make plans to hang out, even if it's just lounging on their couch watching a movie.

    -take this time to start learning about the things you have always wanted to learn about. Since holding a book or kindle can be difficult, rent an audio book. It lets your mind escape reality and your body rest.

    - Start pampering yourself. Depression can lead to getting lazy on your appearance, especially when you are suffering from depression and pain. Start doing your nails often, search for new easy ideas for fixing your hair and investigate new tricks to better application for makeup. We dont have control over how our body feels on the inside but we can dominate how awesome we look on the outside.

    - Do yoga or stretch everyday. You dont need to go to a class to relax and clear your mind. It helps reduce the stiffness and pain in your body. It also seems to increase your energy.

    - Make your bed an ultimate luxury zone. Since we dont feel good we are bound to spending lots of time here. Buy super soft sheets, a fluffy comforter and perfectly soft pillows. I like to spray the eculuptis spearment (bad spellling!) fabric spray from Bath & Body works. The spearment seems to reduce my nausea.

    - Create list of things you want to get done and try to get one done a day. This helps you not feel so overwhelmed.

    - Take up a hobby. It doesnt matter what it is as long as it refocuses your mind off of being sick and hurting. Watch a season or show that you have always wanted to watch but never have had the time. Start a blog. Learn to cook something new. Anything.

    - Relax and know that there are a lot of other people out there who understand. I talk with another lady who has RA thru email and it helps alot. My email is if you want to talk and/or blow off steam with someone who actually gets it.
    Anon_37522 responded:
    My heart goes out to you. I was diaognosed 8 years ago. I do have good days and bad days, but am very lucky that have very little side effects from my meds. You might want to talk to your doctor about Methotrexate injections instead of tablets. Seems to work better for some patients.

    My best advise is to join some wonderful websites, so you can interact with others with RA. Some of my favorites are:
    RA Warrior ( ) and RA Voices( ), Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation ( ) and (of course) WebMD-RA Community Exchange support Group ( )

    Hope this helps...Just know you are NOT alone, there are many of us out there who are always willing to listen and share our experiences.
    HanDiana responded:
    Not sure if you agree, but if I were to say that if you have taken care of your RA, ie your RA no longer flares, your inflammation subsides and you are no longer suffering from the horrible side effects of those rheumatoid drugs, you will naturally take care of the mental health part of RA. Technically, if we get down to this, it is all about taming your RA monster.

    For starter, I always say look into your diet and lifestyle. Science has shown a very close correlation of the food we eat with RA. "You are what you eat". Firstly, remove all inflammatory foods and introduce anti-inflammatory fatty acids such as Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Then, study and explore the many potential causes of RA and which of those may possibly trigger your RA onset:

    (1) Most RA patients are also likely to suffer from leaky gut syndrome that is associated with food allergies or intolerance. Discover your food triggers and remove them from your diet ( Start alkalizing your body. Add essential greens where necessary.

    (2) Perform detoxification. Fasting has played a therapeutic role in relieving RA symptoms for many. Other detoxification methods include FIR sauna, dry brushing, enema, colon cleanse, heavy metal detox, parasite cleanse, kidney cleanse, liver cleanse, etc.

    (3) Regular exercising. It is crucial to continue moving out joints. Start out slow and gradually building it up. Contrary to the beliefs that exercise is going to cause more damages to the joints, it can actually help improve range of motion, increase grip and muscle strength.

    (4) Be kind to yourself and be ready to find a support in times when you need to vent your anger and frustration out. I vent out on my husband, who just knows that I need his ears so that I can feel better after these. I can't say I am socially active now after I shy away from friends who do not understand the severity of RA. My family is my primary source of support.

    (5) Explore into alternative drugs including LDN, Minocin (antibiotic protocol for mycoplasma), Metronidazole & Allupurinol (anti-amoeba protocol), thunder god vines (TCM alternative), etc.

    Hope the above information helps. ** Hugs to you** Cheer up!

    shann75 responded:
    Stephanie~ I completely understand how you feel! I'm having sa very rough day today myself. I just told my husband that I feel like I'm going crazy. I feel trapped by pain. I feel stuck in my body! I have found that I'm talking to myself today..trying to talk myself thru the pain. I used to be very active also. I can no longer hike, gardening, camping, etc. My life has been ruined by this terrible disease!! I'm unable to work. I filed for disability, but I've been denied 3x because of my age. I'm 37....but I feel 67, at least!!!
    You're not alone!! I'm also on Methotrexate & my hair falls out, & I have other side effects as well. But I've been on it almost 3 yrs. & You do get used to it.

    Good luck!

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