May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month Blog Post #19: Mental Health and Lyme Disease

It makes sense that when you have a chronic illness you might have some feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loneliness.  Even feeling angry that you are constantly sick or grieving for the life you once had. Yes, anyone who is constantly sick day after day gets worn down and feels lost that their suffering may never end.

But would if you had a disease that could actually cause mental health problems?  

mood swings

I’ve read that 95% of all Lyme Disease Warriors have mental health problems.  But unfortunately most are misdiagnosed as having a psychiatric disorder instead.  Many people are on so many different medications because the psychiatric doctors don’t understand that there can be an underlying illness that can cause those symptoms.  Just think if all mental health professionals considered Lyme Disease as a cause and sent patients to a Lyme Literate MD (LLMD) there would be so much less suffering and more healing.  Many mental health professionals that have Lyme are testing their patients themselves or sending them to an LLMD. But unfortunately many people spend years and years on psychiatric medications and never get better.   Psychiatrists push medications, hospitalization and electroconvulsive therapy to patients and many never get better. WAKE UP PEOPLE!  If you continue to take meditations for a condition a doctor says you have and they don’t work then maybe you don’t have that condition.  You need to determined the root cause of your symptoms and treat it to heal.  I think a good doctor would be one using medications temporarily while trying to determine the cause so their patients can heal. 

Here is a great article by Sarah Marzillier: What Psychologists need to know about Lyme disease from 2009

And a brochure from the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ilads)

Remember Lyme Disease can mimic over 300 illnesses.  When a patient presents with depression, anxiety, bipolar or even schizophrenia you need to ask about other symptoms and get a medical history. 

Does the patient have any physical symptoms?

  • pain or aches in their body
  • migraines
  • heart problems
  • tremors or seizures
  • thyroid issues
  • memory problems
  • joint problems
  • sleep problems
  • fatigue
  • arthritis

Or have they been told these other labels? MS, ALS, Fibromyalgia, RA, Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or anything else with an unknown cause.  If so, GET THEM TO A LYME LITERATE DOCTOR (MD or ND).

My experience:  I started feeling depressed about the same time I started getting frequent migraines. It’s very common for migraineur’s to get depression because we spend a lot of time in a dark room and don’t get much sunshine.  However, over the 20 years that I was wrongly diagnosed I was on numerous medications for whatever labels the doctors thought I had.  Of course, the medications made me worse and I eventually when off all them.

Psychiatrists feel they must label your actions as some psychiatric disorder.  They can’t separate a common occurrence of a person crying and being angry about something without labelling it and prescribing medications.

My last visit to a psychiatrist was the worst.  I was in excruciating and debilitating pain. I was almost at the point of needing a wheelchair. I was not able to walk without pain meds and the doctor lied to me and said she refilled my prescription when she didn’t. So, of course I was extremely upset that the doctor lied and no other doctors were helping me determine what was wrong. When I arrived at my appointment barely walking, I was angry and crying and told my psychiatrist how horrible several doctors had treated me. Her only answer was that I needed a mood stabilizer. Unbelievable!  Yes, I had a few choice words for her and never went back.  Patients should not be treated so poorly by physicians. I’ve had two decent doctors in 24 years and Psychiatrists are the worst! They are prescription happy! They think everyone needs medications.  It’s maddening!!  And when you get side effects from a drug they give you another to add to it to mask the side effects.  IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL!  They give depressed patients drugs that have suicide tendencies as a side effect.   Please read all you drug inserts and check for side effects and if you are not comfortable with any doctor and how they treat you find someone new. GO WITH YOUR GUT!  YOU KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU! Anyone that has ever been outside in their entire life (HAHA that is everyone)  has a chance of having Lyme disease and multiple co-infections.  Also, lyme has been proven to be passed from mom to baby and an STD.  YIKES!   

Why does Lyme Disease and it’s co-infections cause psychiatric disorders?

The infections can effect your central nervous system. A bacterial infection of a spirochete can make it’s way into your brain. Lymies have many other toxins in them that cause brain fog and other psychiatric issues too.

Our medical community can’t continue to ignore this.  At some point every doctor including psychiatrists needs to be educated in Lyme Disease.  Right now, most doctors have completely false information about Lyme including psychiatrists.

The medical community failed me for over 20 years

For all doctors:  It is NOT “all in our head”

There are many stories of people who were only assumed to have a mental illness when they actually had Lyme Disease.  Here is the story about Ally Hilfiger, daughter of Fashion Designer Tommy Hilfiger.  He committed her to a psych ward and luckily a doctor  was able to determine she had Lyme Disease.  

Ally Hilfiger On How Being Institutionalized By Her Father Saved Her Life

I hate the word crazy but this meme says a lot.