NEWS: Off-the-Charts Anxiety–Is a Tick Bite Making You Nuts?
Rodale.com looks at how tick-borne infections can cause psychiatric symptoms that often go untreated.
Lyme disease panic attacks
Off-the-Charts Anxiety: Is a Tick Bite Making You Nuts?
Tick-borne infections aren’t just causing sore joints and swollen knees.
Some cause psychiatric symptoms that often go untreated, some experts say.
By Leah Zerbe
Published on August 3rd, 2011
Last updated on August 4th, 2011
RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Finding an engorged, blood-sucking tick attached to your skin can cause anxiety in and of itself. After all, Lyme disease, an infection that causes multi-systemic, waxing-and-waning symptoms, and a disease that isn’t always detected or effectively treated early on, is on the rise. But 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.
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