Is Lyme Making You Nuts? The Psychiatric Symptoms of Lyme Disease

From: Rodale

“…Researchers are starting to realize that, although getting bitten may be stressful, tick-borne infections could actually trigger panic attacks and other psychiatric disorders in some people.

THE DETAILS: “After treating thousands of patients with tick-borne disease in the past 20 years, it appears psychiatric symptoms are more commonly seen when there is a co-infection,” explains psychiatrist Robert Bransfield, MD, president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) and vice president of the New Jersey Psychiatric Association. Co-infections (when a tick passes along more than one disease) most often involve Lyme, babesiosis, a malaria-like infection that can cause fever, night sweats, and anemia; and bartonella (cat scratch fever), a bacterial infection that causes fever, headache, and raised skin rashes. Co-infections are most often culprits in tick-related panic attacks and anxiety, and these multiple infections from tick bites are quite common, occurring in an estimated 30 percent of cases.

“Dr. Bransfield, who is also associate director of psychiatry at Riverview Medical Center in New Jersey (a state with a high prevalence of Lyme disease), points out that 240 peer-reviewed scientific articles demonstrate an association between Lyme and other tick-borne diseases and mental illness. For instance, a small study published in The Clinical Journal of Pain in 2005 found that patients experiencing panic attacks also suffered other symptoms not typical of standard panic attacks—extreme sensitivity to light, touch, and sounds, joint pain, mental fogginess, and migrating pain, all of which can be symptoms of Lyme disease—and those people tested positive for Lyme and babesiosis, which, like Lyme, is on the rise in the U.S. Once treated with antibiotics for both diseases, the patients no longer experienced panic attacks.”

Continue Reading Here: Rodale

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2 comments for “Is Lyme Making You Nuts? The Psychiatric Symptoms of Lyme Disease

  1. JasonMChicago
    January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Lyme for me manifested in SEVERE unlike-anything-in-the-world 24/7 anxiety. I seriously didn’t know what was going on and because it came out of nowhere I thought this seriously cannot be the case. I tried everything psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis. I did get better and realized that I have to “accept reality” no matter how crazy it was at the time but I did still keep searching as I knew my muscle/joint/Bell’s Palsy/TMJ had more to it. Anyway when I started detoxing and treating Lyme the VERY first thing to go away for me was the anxiety. Still dealing with the others.

    One thing I learned is that one can “guard their feelings and emotions.” Lyme is hard already… you don’t need to tell everyone about it. Today I went to my regular doctor who didn’t diagnosis me and I told him after 25 doctors and 1.5 years I finally figured it out. He said what is it. I said “it’s multiple bacterial infections” I specifically left it vague… didn’t want to get into the “controversy” around Lyme. Anyway, then he said “I’m skeptical.” I was so thankful that I didn’t say Lyme… instead I told him… “I’m confident and I’m already getting better through treatment… that’s not why I’m here. I’m here because of X.” This way I kept my emotions and feelings save… and I didn’t bring a doubting voice into my life/treatment. I have told no one except my mother and my acupunturist about Lyme. That’s it. I think it’s the SMARTEST thing I’ve done. Why? Because we don’t need 100s of opinions from people who don’t know. I’ve talked to many people with Lyme but non-Lyme… that’s it those two.

    For anyone out there who is struggling with this disease… is tough already… my suggestion (you can do whatever you’d like) is to not spread the word. Talk to people on the internet, other Lyme folks, etc. but what does your brother/sister/mother/father/aunt/etc. who already thinks your a little crazy because of the weird symptoms going to do? Nothing, they’re just going to make things worse. Stay guarded, these are your opinions, your health, and your path.

    Best… JMC

  2. May 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Anxiety. And oh my goodness…in my kids the OCD. The flash anger. We have many of the other affects of Lyme…but these are the hardest to watch as a parent…and the hardest to live with as well. We are finally putting them behind us. But your piece resonated so much. Thank you!

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