Lyme Disease May Be the Reason Your Anxiety and Depression is Not Getting Better

//Lyme Disease May Be the Reason Your Anxiety and Depression is Not Getting Better

Lyme Disease May Be the Reason Your Anxiety and Depression is Not Getting Better

If you’re one of the 51 million Americans seeking relief each year for depression and anxiety disorders, you know how elusive successful treatment can be. Studies show that 40% of people with depression fail to respond to any treatment, and over half of those who pursue therapy experience only a partial response.

Could it be that we are thinking about and treating these conditions incorrectly? Research increasingly tells us that depression and anxiety are not disorders in and of themselves, but rather symptoms of inflammation in the brain. Thinking about depression and anxiety in this way gives us new insight into their possible causes and how best to address them.
With that in mind, and especially if you are one for whom conventional treatment has proven ineffective, a less frequently cited yet potential reason you may not be getting better could be Lyme disease.

Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent. While these diseases typically present with a wide range of symptoms, joint pain being the most common, they have also been associated with a wide range of psychiatric conditions including depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and bipolar disease. The association of Lyme disease with neuropsychiatric disease has been documented since 1994 in the American Journal of Psychiatry and has been confirmed since, but the connection is frequently overlooked in the diagnosis of psychiatric illness. If you are suffering from chronic pain and depression, anxiety or another mental disorder, this diagnosis has to be considered.

Dr. Kaplan says physicians (inappropriately) are oriented to treat these conditions as diseases and not look for an underlying cause. For instance, he recalls one of his patients who had depression and sleep disturbances consistent with sleep drunkenness, but which later turned out to be Lyme disease. “Treatment of the Lyme resulted in complete resolution of symptoms.”

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About the Author:

Gary Kaplan, DO
Gary Kaplan, D.O. is the founder and medical director of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine and author of Total Recovery: A Revolutionary New Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Pain and Depression. A pioneer and leader in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Kaplan is one of only 19 physicians in the country to be board-certified in both Family Medicine and Pain Medicine. Dr. Kaplan is a Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine and serves on the Advisory Committee to Health and Human Services for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. To read Dr. Kaplan's complete bio, click here.