Neuropsychiatric lupus symptoms in children

Lupus Foundation of America

Resource Content

Neuropsychiatric lupus (NPSLE) may be the least understood symptom of lupus and occurs earlier, more frequently, and with greater severity in children than in adults with lupus. Approximately 25 percent of children and adolescents with lupus develop neuropsychiatric complications. These may include strokes, seizures, difficulties in thinking, and even brain damage. 

NPSLE is difficult to diagnose and can be present even when disease activity in other organs cannot be identified. It is often difficult to distinguish the mood disorders and stress related symptoms common in adolescents and young adults from the symptoms of neuropsychiatric lupus. Unfortunately, NPSLE and its treatments can negatively impact cognitive ability, school performance and overall educational progress. 

Medically reviewed on