TOUCHED BY LYME: Ignoring psychiatric Lyme disease at our peril
Psychiatrist Robert Bransfield predicts the proposed IDSA guidelines could contribute to a “national and global epidemic of psychiatric illnesses, suicide, violence, substance abuse and developmental disabilities in children and adults.”
Dr. Bransfield is an internationally recognized expert on how Lyme disease affects the brain. He has just published a scathing critique of the proposed IDSA Lyme guidelines as they relate to psychiatric conditions.
In an open-access article entitled Proposed Lyme Disease Guidelines and Psychiatric Illnesses, in the medical journal Healthcare, he calls the guidelines “evidence-biased” instead of “evidence-based.”
He points out that no psychiatrists sat on the guidelines panel. Yet, the IDSA recommends against testing for Lyme disease in adult patients with psychiatric illness. Furthermore, the guidelines recommend against Lyme testing for children with developmental, behavioral, or psychiatric disorders.
In both cases, the IDSA claims there is “no data” to associate Lyme disease with any of these conditions.
Even though there are more than 1000 articles on PubMed on these topics.
Dr. Bransfield states:
The proposed guidelines fail to recognize the clear causal association between Lyme disease and psychiatric illnesses in children and adults that may include suicide, violence, substance abuse and developmental disabilities. Suicide is a major cause of mortality in patients with Lyme disease.
These errors result in this part of the guidelines being evidence-biased rather than evidence-based. If the causal association between Lyme disease and psychiatric illnesses is not recognized in the guidelines, it would have serious adverse consequences when making treatment risk vs. benefit decisions.
If these guidelines are published without very major revisions, and if the sponsoring medical societies attempt to enforce these guidelines as a standard of care, this will directly contribute to a national and global epidemic of psychiatric illnesses, suicide, violence, substance abuse and developmental disabilities in children and adults that could otherwise be reduced if these guidelines were instead truly evidence-based and more scientifically accurate.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s Director of Communications. She is co-author of “When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide.” Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.