Lyme disease and psychiatric disorders
Leo Sher, M.D.
A research report, “Lyme borreliosis and associations with mental disorders and suicidal behavior: a nationwide Danish cohort study” has been published in the October 2021 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry (1). According to this population-based retrospective cohort study, people with Lyme disease showed higher rates of a variety of psychiatric disorders and higher rates of suicide attempts compared with those without the disease.
Using Denmark’s National Patient Register and the Psychiatric Central Research Register, and including all persons living in Denmark from 1994 through 2016, the authors examined the risk of psychiatric disorders and suicidal behaviors among all individuals diagnosed with Lyme disease in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings. Linkage of data between national registries was possible because each Danish resident has a unique personal identification number.
Individuals with Lyme disease had higher rates of any mental disorder, of affective disorders, of suicide attempts, and of death by suicide compared with those without Lyme disease. The 6-month interval after diagnosis was associated with the highest rate of any mental disorder, and the first 3 years after diagnosis was associated with the highest rate of suicide. Findings of this study are consistent with multiple observations linking infection and inflammation to increased risk of psychiatric disorders and suicidal behavior.
- Fallon BA, Madsen T, Erlangsen A, Benros ME. Lyme borreliosis and associations with mental disorders and suicidal behavior: a nationwide Danish cohort study. Am J Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 1;178(10):921-931. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2021.20091347. Epub 2021 Jul 28.