Most of us in the LD community are aware of neuroborreliosis, which causes many of the most frightening Lyme Disease symptoms. This syndrome occurs when Borrelia spirochetes — or at least their neurotoxins — get through the normal system defenses to infect the central nervous system, including the brain.

Psychological Symptoms

Full-blown neuroborreliosis results in physical damage that can cause everything from insomnia to Bell’s Palsy to loss of the ability to speak or concentrate — and so much more. It can even cause severe personality changes, as I’ll describe in Part II of this article.

But before we get to that point, I’d like to talk about something that’s less damaging physically, but can be just as painful emotionally: the psychological effects that just knowing, or even suspecting, that you have LD can cause… even before neuroborreliosis strikes.

Self-Inflicted Distress

There’s no doubt that LD has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. It’s hard to say whether this is because more people are getting new cases as we allow our deer populations (and thus deer tick populations) to grow out of control, or because doctors are simply more likely to recognize LD for what it is.

It seems likely that both factors have contributed to the consistent rise in LD cases through the years.

The lay public — that’s you and me — now has more access to information on LD than ever before, given the widespread availability of the Internet. That’s a good thing, in most senses; but it can have bad effects.

Vocal Minority?

It’s a sad fact that not everyone responds to LD treatment, whether of the traditional or unconventional kinds. Needless to say, the sickest patients are the most likely to reach out for help on message boards, forums, and websites, describing their suite of symptoms and how LD has destroyed their lives.

This is not to belittle their pain. Lyme is a horrible disease, and by no means is it always curable. But there is hope.

But those recently diagnosed with Lyme often see the horror stories over and over, and something like that can make you think that’s all there is to treatment — that you’re doomed to a life of pain and illness. This is not necessarily the case!

psychological effects of lyme disease symptoms

Beyond the purely physical Lyme Disease symptoms, the disease can have terrible effects on the mind… in several different ways.

The Reality of Lyme

Most people do respond to LD treatment, at least to some extent; many recover completely after a short course of antibiotics. It’s true that in some cases LD may relapse, but repeated treatment (especially the aggressive kind performed by Lyme literate doctors) may kill the infection for good.

This may be one reason that some doctors are so vehement in their denial that any further symptoms aren’t attributable to LD at all — and that chronic Lyme doesn’t exist as such.

Be that as it may, don’t let the bad news depress you; you’ll never beat Lyme if you give up before you start. Too much worry that you’re one of the rare incurable individuals will just make everything worse and more difficult to handle.

So please: if you have Lyme Disease, try to stay optimistic. That’s one of the best ways to beat the disease!

Beyond Mere Worry

Optimism can be strong medicine, but you must also realize that chronic Lyme can have measurable organic effects on your personality, if allowed to worsen to neuroborreliosis. We’ll take a closer look at those psychological Lyme Disease symptoms in Part II of this article.