Psychological and Neurological Basic
Findings of Active Lyme Disease
Brief orientation: I offer this because Lyme is profoundly under-diagnosed, even as the CDC admits it is the most common vector borne illness in the USA. Miscellaneous bugs found on Florida beaches and our woods have Lyme. Even the CDC reports our flowerbeds have some mulch made in the Northeastern USA and containing tiny pinhead sized deer tics with Lyme. It is also in the woods, grasslands and suburbs of approximately 49 states.
Treatment must last, in the opinion of those with thousands of patients, at least 2 months past complete loss of all symptoms.
Lyme is in the brain, heart and eyes in 10 days or less. You likely know people who have it right now—in your family, down the street or in your church. It is related to syphilis but 20x more resistant to antibiotics and our immune defenses. Routine blood testing is junk and misses at least 9/10. Any lab testing must be done by IGENEX (IgeneX.com), and not the routine massive lab machines used by most physicians. Some of those I worried about in past years, who made light of the comments above, have now experienced strokes, heart attacks, false MS, learning difficulties, fatigue, addictions, divorce, arthritis and a host of other issues in themselves and their loved ones. Lyme has now been called “the Great Imposter” because it can appear as any illness.
Signs and symptoms listed below are signs of incomplete and fairly early treatment.
For further information, I offer 300 pages of material -- go to Lyme Disease Section on this site.
- Fatigue: this ranges from mild to severe, resulting at times in a need for prolonged sleep at night and additional naps during the day, much akin to chronic fatigue syndrome. (Children or workers may fall asleep at their desk).
- Low grade fevers
- Night sweats
- Thinking Problems: may include problems in attention, memory, verbal fluency, thinking speed. Patients may report problems with concentration or the need to rely on lists or others because of new memory problems. For more details about typical cognitive deficits, please see cognitive aspects in adults.
- Cognitive overload: Some patients experience normal environmental stimulation as being excessive, resulting in a cognitive "short-circuiting" such that the patient may start to feel confused, lose focus, stutter, or panic. It is as if the normal filtering mechanism of the brain has been rendered ineffective, leaving the patient vulnerable to a confusing array of numerous stimuli.
- Brain fog: Patients with Lyme disease often use this term to describe the lack of clarity in their cognitive processes. At times, this seems similar to "depersonalization or derealization" in which a person's sense of self and place are altered.
- Sensory Hyperacuities: some patients experience a heightened sensitivity to sound or to light, particularly in the early phases of neurologic Lyme disease. In the more severe cases, patients need to wear sunglasses indoors or earplugs to diminish sensory stimulation.
- Spatial or Geographic Orientation problems: For example, patients may bump into the door jambs; go to place an object on a table only to see it fall to the floor due to a misjudgment of spatial distance; get lost in a familiar place.
- Problems with Speech & Fluency: stuttering, reversing words (e.g., stating "tomorrow" when one means "yesterday")
- Less common neurological syndromes: partial complex seizures, multiple sclerosis like illness, dementia-like illness, Guillain-Barre syndrome and strokes.
- Migrating joint pains or arthritis with joint inflammation or swelling
- Muscle pains
- Sleep disturbance
- Frequent and severe headaches
- Cranial nerve disturbance. While facial nerve palsy or optic neuritis is not frequently seen, patients may more commonly report facial numbness and/or tingling.
- Sharp, stabbing, deep/boring, burning, or shooting pains
- Multifocal numbness or tingling in hands or feet (signs of peripheral neuropathy)
- Disturbances of behavior or mood
- May be diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder
- Memory Problems: Retrieval difficulties are common in which patients may have a hard time recalling what they know; patients may forget conversations or children may forget that they've done homework assignments. At other times, patients experience a problem with the "working memory": as if the material can't be kept on board long enough. Patients may find themselves keeping multiple lists, but then they lose track of where they put their lists.
- Slower Processing Speed: Patients may find it takes them longer to respond to questions or to complete tasks. Reaction time and thinking feel sluggish.
- Verbal Fluency problems: the ability to engage in normal conversations is impaired by the inability to retrieve the right word for the moment or the ability to "name" well-known people or objects. Patients may experience word substitutions or "paraphasias". A patient trying to refer to a "microwave" might, for example, say "radiator". Or, trying to refer to "Amazon.com" the patient might say, "AOL". Or, trying to refer to "fireworks", the patient might say "skylights". Patients may also experience impairment in speech production, such that they stutter, particularly at times of sensory overload.
Briefly, diagnosis is tricky since Lyme can appear as every psychiatric, psychological, learning problem, neurological illness or medical illness.
The good news is that physicians are starting to become aware of this common illness, usually by getting it themselves as I did, and/or by having relatives contract it. The majority of the prolific and respected Lyme physicians in the USA are individuals who had the infection themselves or had a loved one contract it. Most of my extended family, friends and many associates have contracted it. While fully treatable, it is fatal in some children and adults if left untreated for too long.
Therefore, many Lyme literate physicians across the USA are trying to increase awareness so that patients can be diagnosed by their first physician, not the 5th or 15th as is common now.
Note: I would like to thank the physician who supplied some of these materials listed. And I regret I cannot offer a link to his or her site since I have long since forgotten my source for some of these listed symptoms and signs.
Committed to Your Health!