Anxiety is an insidious mental disorder that has the potential to completely cripple sufferers. Those who have never experienced anxiety often write it off as merely feeling anxious, but in reality it is a far more deep-rooted condition. It can rear its head at the most unlikely of times, without any perceivable external factors, and can vanish just as quickly. In other cases, it can be linked to a trigger mechanism, which can vary hugely on a case-to-case basis. Anxiety often comes hand-in-hand with other mental disorders, such as depression, but it can also accompany physical ones. Lyme disease is another insidious disorder, especially in its chronic form. Once it’s sunk its claws into a patient, it can often cause distressing anxiety symptoms, for a number of different reasons.
1. Not Being Sure What Condition You Have
This is a classic reason Lyme disease causes anxiety for its sufferers, as the misdiagnosis rates of Lyme are extremely high. In fact, because of the nature of misdiagnoses, we aren’t even sure how prevalent Lyme disease is, with the real numbers suspected to be much higher than reported. Not all doctors are Lyme-literate, which means some patients run the risk of being confronted by a barrage of tests for various diseases, with each of them coming back negative. This can be the source of endless frustration and anxiety for sufferers, as their thoughts become consumed with what they might be suffering from. In addition, the symptoms of chronic Lyme can be particularly debilitating, compounding anxiety as they degenerate further. A final thing to note is that people respond differently to Lyme disease; symptoms might be prevalent in some, but less invasive in others, further muddying the waters when it comes to diagnosis.
2. Not Being Believed
Chronic Lyme lands in a particularly troublesome grey area of mainstream medicine. It is not officially recognised by the American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but isn’t completely discounted either. The result of this is that some medical professionals are fully learned in the disease and know the correct diagnosis and treatment paths, while some believe the whole thing to be a hysterical overreaction. This can cause major anxiety for some patients, especially those who have done their own homework, believe they have Lyme, and are then repeatedly told they don’t have it by their doctor. Of course, a patient should never rely 100% on self-diagnosis, but for those desperate to get to the bottom of their condition, it is sometimes the only way to initiate the treatment process.
3. Not Being Sure If Treatment Is Working
This one is not Lyme-specific, but is true of any chronic disease. Treatment can take a long time, and during that period, it may be tough to tell if it’s working or not. Patients may get their hopes up for overnight results, but sadly, this is very rarely the case. When it comes to chronic Lyme disease specifically, the treatment path can be even more fraught, as it must balance the management of infection symptoms with inflammation symptoms – two very separate things. Antibiotics will handle the infection, but the inflammation requires a different approach. Make Well are well-versed in long-term disorders, and their line-up of all-natural supplements supports the treatment of chronic diseases such as Lyme. Supplements can be a fantastic way to support the body during a course of antibiotics, while also providing essential vitamins and minerals to help the body regulate the inflammation.
4. Co-infection and Neurological Symptoms
Anxiety can also be a product of the disease itself. Lyme often comes with a number of co-infections, which can often be as dangerous as the umbrella disease. Bartonella and Babesia are two prominent co-infections that can cause neurological symptoms in patients, including anxiety, paranoia, depression and personality changes. It’s crucial for medical professionals to have a deep understanding of co-infections, so that they can form a treatment plan that isn’t solely focused on Lyme.
Looking after your mental health along with your physical health is critically important, especially when it comes to a chronic long-term condition like Lyme disease. Many physicians will often only attend to the physically manifest symptoms, without truly considering the psychological. However, a positive mental attitude is a key component in fighting back against a chronic disease, as any sufferer will tell you. Anxiety is a very hard condition to overcome alone. In addition to physical treatment for Lyme disease, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can help alleviate anxiety symptoms, and has proven helpful for many with mental health issues. Daily meditation for ten to fifteen minutes can also help quieten the mind; studies have shown that, when practised over a long period of time, meditation can be a valuable tool in fighting back against mental health issues.
The condition of anxiety is so much more than simply being anxious about something, and when combined with the juggernaut of a disease that is Lyme, it can often seem overwhelming. However, the support channels are there and available; the most important thing is not to neglect your mental health. Positivity and mental fortitude are crucial weapons in the struggle against Lyme disease.