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2.17 Can Lyme disease cause depression or other psychiatric disorders?




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This article is from the Lyme Disease FAQ, by Milo7 with numerous contributions by others.

2.17 Can Lyme disease cause depression or other psychiatric disorders?

In 1994, a peer-reviewed article that surveyed the international medical
literature on psychiatric aspects of Lyme disease, found that, "depressive
states among patients with late Lyme disease are fairly common, ranging
across studies from 26%-66%." In addition, results showed that "Up to 40%
of patients with Lyme disease develop neurologic involvement of either the
peripheral or central nervous system [CNS]. Dissemination to the CNS can
occur within the first few weeks after skin infection. Like syphilis, Lyme
disease may have a latency period of months to years before symptoms of
late infection emerge. Later, encephalomyelitis and encephalopathy may
occur. A broad range of psychiatric reactions have been associated with
Lyme disease including paranoia, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder,
panic attacks, major depression, anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive
disorder."
(Fallon BA, Nields JA. Lyme Disease: A Neuropsychiatric Illness. Am J
Psychiatry 1994;151:1571-1583.)

Further research led by Brian A. Fallon, MD, Associate Professor of
Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and
Surgeons, and Director of the Lyme Disease Research Program at New York
State Psychiatric Institute, has since documented a wide range of
neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with Lyme disease including:

Major depression; extreme fatigue; emotional instability (crying easily);
increased irritability and mood swings; sensitivity to light (photophobia);
sleep disturbances (insomnia; too much sleep); memory problems; getting
lost in familiar places; dyslexia-type reversals (of numbers and letters);
significant loss of libido; night terrors; extreme anxiety and panic
attacks; ferocious nightmares; suicidal thoughts and attempts; mental fog;
disorientation; feelings of rage; violent thoughts; abnormalities of taste;
abnormalities of smell; heightened sensitivity to vibrations; heightened
sensitivity to sound (including hyperacusis, a collapsed tolerance to
environmental noise); depersonalization; spatial problems; and appetite
changes (bulimia, anorexia).

For information on neuropsychiatric manifestations of Lyme disease:

Fallon et al. The Neuropsychiatric Manifestation of Lyme Borreliosis
http://www.x-l.net/Lyme/1falon.htm

Fallon et al. Late-stage Neuropsychiatric Lyme Borreliosis
http://www.x-l.net/Lyme/Fallon95.htm

The Neuropsychiatric Manifestations of Lyme Disease, Robert C. Bransfield
MD http://www.mentalhealthandillness.com/lymeframes.html

 

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