When Lyme is Misdiagnosed as Mental IllnessDepression and anxiety are frustratingly common in people with long-term Lyme disease.
By Dorothy Kupcha Leland
D epression, anxiety, and other mental symptoms are frustratingly common in people with long-term Lyme disease. Why is this?
Some might attribute it to the fact that the patient’s life has gotten so tough lately. Pain, fatigue, insomnia and other “gifts” of Lyme disease can certainly contribute to a negative frame of mind.
However, an article in the latest issue of the journal Monitor on Psychology delves into the question of how tick-borne infection may directly cause mental disorders.
Reporter Charlotte Huff notes that researchers are still unraveling the precise mechanisms involved, “but there is clearly an inflammatory connection.”
She quotes psychiatrist Dr. Brian Fallon, head of Columbia University’s Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center:
According to Huff, Fallon and others who treat these patients point out that their mental health symptoms can manifest in ways that may differ from individuals who haven’t contracted Lyme. Joseph Trunzo, PhD, says that one notable hallmark in Lyme patients is the duration and acuity of anxiety without any apparent underlying triggers.
“It’s definitely very well accepted to say that any infection that can cause an encephalitis, which means inflammation in the brain, can cause psychiatric disorders, Any infection can do that, and Borrelia can do it as well.”
“In Lyme-driven anxiety, people will often feel this really intense, prolonged, almost nonstop, very high anxiety,” Trunzo said. “It might not be a full-blown panic attack, but it’s pretty high to the point where it’s extremely uncomfortable and very distracting and makes it difficult for them to function.”…….Join or login below to continue reading.
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