Saturday, February 22, 2014

Psychological effects of Lyme disease

My earliest and perhaps longest-lasting symptoms of Lyme infection have been psychological or psychiatric in nature. Primarily this has manifested as anxiety and depression. But in some cases, as noted by Richard Horowitz in his new book "Why Can't I Get Better?" even more profound psychiatric disturbances can result from tick-borne diseases. He notes in his interview on KPFA radio (see my earlier post on that topic where you can find a link to hear his interview) that he personally oversaw two cases of schizophrenia that abated after antibiotic therapy.

 It was brought to my attention recently that a significant body of research has been done on the psychiatric manifestations of Borreliosis, a.k.a. Lyme disease. If you are interested in free access to books and research articles on virtually any kind of medical condition, you can do it for free on the government website called PubMed. Just go to PubMed comprises over 22 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. PubMed citations and abstracts include the fields of biomedicine and health, covering portions of the life sciences, behavioral sciences, chemical sciences, and bioengineering. PubMed also provides access to additional relevant web sites and links to the other NCBI molecular biology resources. PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

You can try this search in PubMed fo research about the psychological aspects of Lyme disease:
(Lyme disease OR borreliosis OR neuroborreliosis) AND (psychology OR psychiatry)
This will yield over 150 results. It may not be a perfect list, but it's a start.
Definitely begin with:
The neuropsychiatric manifestations of Lyme borreliosis.
Psychiatric Quarterly 1992 Spring;63(1):95-117.
The article right next to it:
Cognitive functioning in late Lyme borreliosis.
1991 Nov;48(11):1125-9.
is notable in that the "other side" (physicians who do not belong to ILADS and/or do not believe in chronic Lyme disease) are well aware of encephalopathy in late Lyme, which could be measured through neuropsychological testing. Also note Dan Cameron's comments on their findings at
Definitely read everything that Fallon, Nields, Burrascano, Liegner, and Cameron have contributed to our understanding of this subject. Fallon is notable in that he is an expert in hypochondriasis, but he has demonstrated patterns in the psychological and psychiatric aspects of Lyme disease that separate it from illness anxiety. A PubMed search of
Fallon BA[au]
will bring up all his published work.

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