Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune Disease

An internal civil war breaks out when the immune system attacks the body. The basis of an autoimmune disease involves antibodies known as auto-antibodies which fight cells required for the body’s overall functioning. For example, the immune system of individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis sends out auto-antibodies that attack collagen cells in the body’s joints. Based on the relationship between stress and the immune system, consider how stress might contribute to the immune malfunction that causes autoimmune diseases such as:

  • Cancer
  • Crohns Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

How might health psychology professionals provide support in managing the stress related to these diseases?

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources. Select an autoimmune disease from those listed above. Reflect on the relationship between stress and the development and management of that autoimmune disease. Then, select a behavioral program other than stress management that might assist in the management of the autoimmune disease you selected. Consider how that behavioral program might help a group of people manage that disease.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 a brief description of the autoimmune disease you selected. Then, explain the relationship between stress and the development and management of that autoimmune disease. Finally, describe a behavioral program that might help a group of people manage that disease and explain why it might be effective. Be specific.

Be sure to support your posts and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.


  • Abbas, A. K., Lichtman, A. H. & Pillai, S. (2016). Basic immunology: Functions and disorders of the immune system (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
    • Chapter 10, “Immune Responses Against Tumors and Transplants” (pp. 211-229)
    • Chapter 12, “Congenital and Acquired Immune Immunodeficiencies” (pp. 249-265)
  • Contrada, R. J. (2011). The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.
    • Chapter 30, “Stress and the Cancers” (pp. 411–423)
    • Chapter 32, Effects of Stress on Health in HIV/AIDS” (pp. 447–460)
  • Kendall-Tackett, K. (Ed.). (2010). The psychoneuroimmunology of chronic disease: Exploring the links between inflammation, stress, and illness. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    • Chapter 7, “Social Stress and Inflammation in the Exacerbation of Multiple Sclerosis: An Animal Model with Implications for Humans” (pp. 159–181)
  • American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Wolden-Kirk, H., Overbergh, L., Christesen, H. T., Brusgaard, K., & Mathieu, C. Vitamin D and diabetes: It’s importance for beta cell and immune function. Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology, 347(1–2), 106–120.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Krause, M. L., Davis, J. M., Knutson, K. L., Strausbach, M. A., Crowson, C. S., Therneau, T. M., … Gabriel, S. E. (2011). Assessing immune function by profiling cytokine release from stimulated blood leukocytes and the risk of infection in rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical Immunology, 141(1), 67–72.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2012). Autoimmune diseases. Retrieved from
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. (2010). Autoimmune diseases fact sheet. Retrieved from

Optional Resources

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