I know I've discussed the Lyme-anxiety link a few times in previous posts, but I don't think it can be over-talked. It's a subject that's still so vastly under the radar, in spite of how widespread its effects reach.
Rodale.com just published an article called Off-the-Charts Anxiety: Is a Tick Bite Making You Nuts? in which the author writes, "Researchers are starting to realize that, although getting bitten may be stressful, tick-borne infections could actually trigger panic attacks and other psychiatric disorders in some people."
In my earliest blog entries, I described the panic attacks that consumed me from approximately 16 to 21 years of age. My last couple of years of high school and first couple years of college were marked by my sitting as close as possible to the exit door in classrooms and regularly hiding in bathroom stalls, where I'd sit until the feeling subsided.
Panic attacks came out of nowhere as shooting pangs of nausea, coupled with a racing heart rate and sweaty palms. They occurred daily for several years. Every time I had one, I thought I was about to throw up.
Of all six psychiatrists I've seen in my life, including during the worst of it, none has sent me for blood work of any kind, except for one isolated test for anemia which my doctor performed after my years of complaining of extreme fatigue.
It still baffles my mind that psychiatrists don't test for blood serotonin, Lyme, thyroid disorders, or adrenal disorders. But then again, with all the rampant corruption in the medical field and pharma, why would they? It's not like they'd benefit financially for diagnosing their patients with infectious diseases or auto-immune disorders.... not like they do when they dole out prescriptions for anti-depressants.
Still I wonder, in spite of all this, why are our mood disorders still blamed on lifestyle? Why isn't it understood that actual infectious diseases and auto-immune disorders cause mood disorders like anxiety, panic attacks and depression? Psychiatrists are doctors. They're supposed to figure this stuff out. Patients aren't supposed to know more about this than our doctors!
I've spoken with roughly one dozen other "Lymies" over the last six months who tell the same story as me: they saw psychiatrists prior to knowing they had Lyme, and they were medicated with something like Prozac, Lexapro, or Xanax.
Their doctors never questioned whether an infection could be attacking their brains. That is, after all, what's going on with all twelve of us. For many (if not all of us), our Lyme doctors have now verified that our serotonin levels are below the lowest readable levels. In addition, our adrenals are extremely weak due to the effects of Lyme and our production of abnormal amounts of cortisol and adrenaline.
So, why do psychiatrists insist, as they have time and time again, countlessly among Lymies and nonLymies, that we're somehow doing this to ourselves, by working long hours or other behavioral choices?
The article I mentioned above further explains, "(A) study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1994 found that 40 percent of patients with Lyme disease develop neurological impairment, which may not surface for months or years after a tick bite. Psychiatric reactions included not only panic attacks, but also bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia, and depression."
All it would have taken was one doctor, one psychiatrist, sending me to the labs to get a Lyme test when I was a teenager or young adult. I could be ten or more years ahead of where I am now.