Lyme Disease & Bipolar Disorder
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Q:  Lyme Disease & Bipolar Disorder


I come from the North East where lyme disease is rampent.  It has been sugjested that I  have my child tested for lyme because it can create a bipolar condition.  What can you tell me about this. If this is true than do the bipolar symptoms go away with the antibiotic or would the damage to the neurons be permantent?


Dear Ms. G' -- 
I just searched  lyme bipolar on
Pub Med.  (You can search like this too).  Only three articles, one a review, which concludes:  Psychiatrists who work in endemic areas need to include Lyme disease in the differential diagnosis of any atypical psychiatric disorder.  It can cause symptoms that could look somewhat like bipolar disorder as in this part of the summary: 

A broad range of psychiatric reactions have been associated with Lyme disease including paranoia, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, major depression, anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Depressive states among patients with late Lyme disease are fairly common, ranging across studies from 26% to 66%.

Yet I've not heard of "causing" bipolar disorder per se.  I suspect we're talking about something that looks like bipolar but is not necessarily bipolar per se, in that yes, it would be expected to get better with the antibiotic treatment (if caught early), as in this article on three cases, one of which was "bipolar".  

Dr. Phelps

Published May, 2002 

 

 

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