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Selena Gomez Reportedly Had A ‘Breakdown’ Over Her 'Low White Blood Cell Count'

Women's Health logo Women's Health 10/11/2018 Korin Miller
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(video courtesy US Weekly)
  • Selena Gomez is allegedly in treatment for "ongoing emotional issues."
  • Selena's treatment follows a reported "meltdown" that happened while she was in the hospital for a low white blood cell count.
  • A low white blood cell count can be a side effect of a kidney transplant-which Selena had in 2017, due to her lupus.

Selena Gomez is reportedly seeking treatment for her mental health after suffering an emotional breakdown while in the hospital.

Selena, who has lupus and underwent a kidney transplant in 2017, was hospitalized twice within the last few weeks, according to People, and both times it was for a low white blood cell count.

A source tells People that Selena, 26, had a panic attack during her second hospital visit. “She realized she needed to seek additional help for her ongoing emotional issues,” the source tells People.

What does it mean to have a 'low white blood cell count'?

Let’s back up a sec: Selena has systemic lupus erythematosus (a.k.a, lupus), which is a autoimmune disease that occurs when the body attacks its own organs and tissues, according to the the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Treatment for lupus typically works by suppressing the body’s immune response (and a kidney transplant can also have this effect). Both of those factors could result in a low white blood cell count, says Neeraj Gandotra, M.D., chief medical officer at Delphi Behavioral Health Group

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A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Sep 14, 2017 at 3:07am PDT


Someone with a lowered white blood cell count may develop frequent infections and suffer from fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and bleeding, Gandotra says. “They’ll find themselves with persistent infections that they can’t shake,” he says.

And yes, that could definitely trigger a decline in mental health. "This can be quite challenging and emotionally difficult," says Sean Fischer, M.D., a medical oncologist and hematologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

Because there's an increased risk for infection with low white blood cell counts, patients may have to make extreme lifestyle changes. "When someone with lupus had a low white blood cell count, this generally would lead to physicians recommending...limited exposure to potential environmental pathogens," says Fischer. That could include staying indoors and avoiding public places and crowds. "It's commonplace to recommend that patients are kept rather isolated," he adds.

Plus, lupus can cause anxiety even when someone isn't dealing with low blood counts, Gandotra says. Lupus and its side effects “do have an impact on someone’s sense of self,” he says. “It can shake your confidence and make you feel like you don’t have control.”

Selena is reportedly undergoing dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

a close up of a person: Singer and actress Selena Gomez, 26, is currently in treatment for "ongoing emotional issues" following two hospitalizations for having a low white blood cell count-a complication from her lupus and kidney transplant. Here's what you need to know about what having a low white blood cell count meant-and what dialectical behavior therapy is, which Selena is seeking. © Axelle/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images Singer and actress Selena Gomez, 26, is currently in treatment for "ongoing emotional issues" following two hospitalizations for having a low white blood cell count-a complication from her lupus and kidney transplant. Here's what you need to know about what having a low white blood cell count meant-and what dialectical behavior therapy is, which Selena is seeking. DBT is a type of psychotherapy typically used to help people with borderline personality disorder, says Gandotra-though it can also help treat other mental health issues like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse, among others.

“In theory, DBT helps people to develop and learn new skills so that they can fight impulses of self-destructive behavior,” Gandotra says. “It helps them manage painful emotions and decrease conflict that they might have in their relationships.” And, he adds, DBT has “been used to help people tolerate stress” which could come along with health issues.

There’s been no official word from Selena or her publicist on her condition or situation; but in late September, the singer announced via Instagram that she would be taking a social media break.


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A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Sep 23, 2018 at 4:37pm PDT


This piece will be updated as more information becomes available.

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