I’ll admit that in my mind, I view the answer to this question to be a resounding YES. However, I don’t know why it is or how common it is. My brother was diagnosed with bartonella Lyme about a year ago after four years of thinking he had depression and anxiety, so this is a very relevant topic in my life. What I’ve learned in the past year about neurological Lyme is limited to what his doctor says and what my mom tells me, but I have been continuously interested in how his Lyme disease faked us out into thinking he was depressed. This has happened to a few of our family friends too, and we never knew until we talked to them about what is happening to my brother. I’ve been curious for a while about how this pretty common disease is hardly ever talked about (the only way we realized that my brother needed to see a Lyme specialist is by talking to other people and noticing some unusual marks on his torso), and I wondered if it was because people might not even know that they have it.
The null hypothesis about this question would say that Lyme disease has no connection to and does not effect mental health/psychiatric issues in patients with both, while the alternative hypothesis would say Lyme disease does have a connection and effect mental health/psychiatric issues in patients with both. All of this could also possibly be a result of chance, or a third confounding variable that hasn’t been researched or published about just yet.
The psychiatric symptoms that often come along with Lyme disease was first documented in a 1994 study by Doctors Brian Fallon and Jenifer Nields. We now have confirmation that what Fallon and Nields wrote about was in fact correct. Lyme disease can have a very wide variety of symptoms, and the possible psychiatric ones such as anxiety and depression can be viewed as the only issue. Lyme disease oftentimes kills your receptors for serotonin, so anti-depressant medication that changes the chemicals in your brain aren’t going to be helpful to you at all. Lyme disease can imitate all sorts of different psychiatric and mental disorders, as well as cause an increase in the level of severity of problems you may have already had.
The answer to my original question is yes, some people could be suffering from Lyme disease under the false pretenses that it’s a mental disorder because it can mimic those mental problems, and therefore could be getting completely ineffective medicine for it. So if you’re depressed, should you be getting tested for Lyme? Maybe. Consider the issues you’re having, how medication or other treatment has affected you, and check yourself for stretch marks you’ve only recently acquired with no weight change. Lyme is a serious issue and getting a diagnosis could change your life for the better in beginning treatment and getting better!