Can Lyme Disease cause Anxiety and Depression?
Although depression and anxiety are signs of many different diseases, most people don't link them to illnesses like Lyme disease or other physical ailments, which puts them strictly in the mental health category.
The relationship between the body and mind is undeniable. Although some mental disorders can result in physical symptoms, physical illnesses frequently induce mental symptoms, and Lyme disease is no exception.
Anxiety and despair are highly common among people with Lyme disease, which makes an already terrible situation even worse, but there are ways to find relief.
Understanding the value of mind-body medicine and the effect of a positive mental state on the healing process is essential for physical healing, but first you must understand what causes anxiety and depression and how these conditions are related to Lyme disease.
Are chemical imbalances the root of depression?
It's a common misconception that depression and other comparable diseases are caused by "chemical imbalances," but the situation is more nuanced than that.
In cases of depression, the system can have "receptors that may be oversensitive or insensitive to a specific neurotransmitter, causing their response to its release to be excessive or inadequate," or it may send a weakened message if there is too little of the neurotransmitter, according to Harvard Health.
Basically, any changes to our brain chemistry might result in major mood swings.
Although some studies contend that anxiety and depression are separate disorders, others have discovered that they can occasionally be associated.
Depending on the chronic illness, there are studies on both; however, it is challenging to manage anxiety and depression while having a chronic illness.
Mental health and Lyme disease
Does Lyme disease contribute to anxiety and depression?
The majority of people are unaware of the connection between Lyme disease and anxiety or depression. Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is mostly known to cause arthritis and neurological diseases but can also result in psychiatric symptoms, including sadness and anxiety. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by ticks.
It's not all in your head, which is wonderful news.
There are numerous factors that can cause these genuine symptoms. According to several studies, people who have chronic medical disorders are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and when these conditions are present together, they can exacerbate one another.
Important factors for Lyme disease, anxiety, and depression
According to a study in the American Journal of Pathology, inflammation is a causal factor in various brain abnormalities connected to Lyme disease, and a growing body of data suggests that inflammation is a major factor in mood disorders and mental illness in general.
Overall health depends on gut health in general. Because your stomach and brain are always in communication because of the gut-brain axis, when the gut is imbalanced, it throws off everything in the body. The majority of patients with Lyme disease have a leaky gut, where the intestinal lining has holes and is no longer functioning properly. This allows undigested food molecules and other "bad stuff" to freely flow into your bloodstream and results in nutritional deficiencies that have an effect on a person's mental state and mood.
A vital aspect of mental wellness is nutrition. Although it is normal to observe minor alterations in a person's mood after not eating, such as rage or irritation, nutrition also plays a significant part in our health. According to studies, people who suffer from anxiety and depression have inferior nutrition quality. According to a study, changing one's diet can reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of several chronic diseases while also improving overall quality of life.
The way you live your life has an effect on your anxiety and depression symptoms. We are advised to avoid hazardous mold, pesticides (organophosphates), mercury, and several prescription medicines because household pollutants also lead to sadness and anxiety. A study that appeared in the Annals of Epidemiology found that those who are exposed to pesticides have a roughly sixfold higher risk of developing depressive symptoms.
As Lyme disease affects numerous systems, it can also be controlled by implementing the various adjustments mentioned above. Anxiety and despair are frequent symptoms of many types of Lyme disease, including neurological Lyme disease, also known as Lyme neuroborreliosis, along with cognitive decline, memory loss, and other issues.
What leads to depression and anxiety?
Anxiety, despair, and even illness can be caused by a wide variety of life experiences or hereditary causes.
If you've experienced more of the following, you're at a greater risk for anxiety or depression:
- Ongoing hostility
- Abuse, loss, or demise
- Drugs or alcohol
- Other mental health illnesses
- Unnecessary stress, including buildup, ongoing stress, or stress caused by a condition
- Chronic disease
- Life experiences, even those that are deemed "positive"
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Social isolation or lack of support
- According to research, some lifestyle factors, such as food, exercise, and chemical exposure, are also modifiable risk factors
Depression and anxiety symptoms
Despite the fact that depression and anxiety may have different root causes, they frequently have comparable treatments and symptoms. These symptoms can significantly change daily life and exacerbate chronic illnesses like Lyme disease.
The following are typical signs of depression:
- Low energy levels that are frequently accompanied by feelings of sluggishness or chronic fatigue
- Difficulty sleeping, including oversleeping or waking up early
- Loss of interest in activities or pleasure
- Negative emotions such as sadness
- Difficulties concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Frequent changes in weight or appetite
- Aches, pains, and muscle cramps
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Suicidal ideas, suicide attempts, and death-related thoughts
Anxiety symptoms include:
- Muscle tension
- Grinding teeth
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during the night
- Difficulty controlling emotions like anxiety or fear, irritability, dread, panic, or feeling on edge
- Weariness/easy fatiguability
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering and more
Numerous additional disorders have these symptoms, but it's critical to distinguish between ordinary stress or melancholy and a clinical condition, which is where diagnosis comes in.
How are depression and anxiety diagnosed?
Medical practitioners use physical, psychological, and other diagnostic procedures to determine whether you meet the criteria for depression or anxiety before making a diagnosis. A diagnosis is often made if you display five or more symptoms of the illness.
It's critical to recognize the distinctions between regular feelings of melancholy and clinical illnesses like depression.
The presence of ongoing symptoms is one of the key distinctions.
It's common for us to experience sadness at various times in our lives. We're all humans, after all, but if the emotion persists or if you feel down all the time, depression is likely the cause and should be discussed with a doctor.
If you are diagnosed with depression or anxiety, always consult your doctor to rule out other problems first, such as hypothyroidism, and to find out how to continue.
Managing chronic illness, depression, and anxiety
Living with Lyme disease or another chronic illness has its own difficulties, but they are made worse when despair and anxiety are present. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy or care, and frequently, a combination of modifications yields the best outcomes. Try these seven methods for managing depression, anxiety, and Lyme disease symptoms, and never hesitate to seek advice and help from your doctor.
How can depression and anxiety be treated?
The following techniques can help in managing or treating depression or anxiety symptoms:
1) Workout frequently
Exercise is essential to having a higher quality of life. It effectively starts a cascade effect, which results in the release of endorphins; a reduction in stress, inflammation, and blood pressure; and an improvement in sleep and a lot more. Exercise is equally effective as antidepressants in the long run at preventing recurrence.
2) Calm your body and mind
Relaxation techniques can enhance your quality of life and may lessen depression and anxiety symptoms. Start breathing exercises: deep, deliberate breathing helps relieve stress and improves general well-being. Anxiety and tension substantially decrease when you learn to control your breathing because of the increased oxygen flow that your body and brain receive. Practice meditation: meditation is recommended for treating depression, anxiety, chronic conditions, and mental health in general almost universally.
Allocate time for relaxing activities and techniques. Give your body and mind room, so they can actively engage in the following things:
- Progressive muscle relaxation entails lying down and concentrating on a specific muscle group. You actively relax them, and then after a little period of tension, you completely relax them once more.
- Autogenic training involves sitting or lying down in a comfortable position and mentally repeating brief sentences, such as "My arms feel heavy," to feel thoroughly relaxed and to rid yourself of tension or other unpleasant emotions.
- The practice of yoga combines various breathing techniques with meditation, muscular relaxation, and physical poses to promote body awareness and relaxation.
- Muscle tension is also reduced by massage.
3) Seek out professional or personal emotional support
Studies suggest that about 20% of individuals who take antidepressants for depression or other mood disorders do not experience a reduction in their anxiety or depressive symptoms, whereas emotional support has long-lasting effects.
Reach out to a skilled professional (counsellors, hotlines, therapists, etc.), talk to a friend or family member you know will listen, or join support groups.
4) Get daily sun exposure and fresh air outside
If you have a chronic illness, you are at risk for vitamin D deficiency, and research shows that vitamin D deficiency is a major factor in causing depression. According to several studies, cognitive impairment was also caused by depression and insufficient solar exposure.
To boost vitamin D levels and feelings of well-being, try going for a stroll or doing some outdoor exercise. Additionally, early sun exposure will greatly reduce anxiety and despair.
5) Develop a more effective sleep support system
As we spend a third of our lives sleeping, this area needs attention. When you have a bad night's sleep, everything else is affected. The link between mental health and sleep is complicated; among other diseases, anxiety or depression may cause sleep issues, which in turn may lead to sleep abnormalities.
6) Speak with your doctor before taking any medications, including antidepressants or dietary supplements
Antidepressants are frequently prescribed for anxiety and depression, but they aren't right for everyone, and they might not be effective in the absence of other factors, such as emotional support or vitamin deficiency. Antidepressants were initially licensed for short-term usage and are frequently not the long-term solution, so using them temporarily while you make lifestyle adjustments might be really beneficial.
Ask your doctor about natural supplements like S-adenosyl methionine or B-vitamins like niacin if you're seeking more holistic ways to treat your anxiety or depression.
7) Address nutritional deficits
Multiple dietary deficits are typical, making life with Lyme disease already challenging. The response is significant and includes chronic disease, depressive symptoms, impaired symptoms, and much more when your brain and body are deficient in high-quality nourishment or if you consume food with inflammatory components like refined sugar.
Nutritional deficits are common, but having a chronic illness can make them worse. Although taking supplements might be beneficial, modest dietary adjustments can have a great effect on your Lyme disease and mental health issues.
There are trillions of bacteria in your digestive tract, some of which are beneficial to your health while others might harm it. Gut health is crucial for a healthy body. Certain dietary changes can alter your body's natural processes and enhance healthy bacteria while reducing inflammation.
The following are some fundamental dietary suggestions:
Avoid items with added sugar or flour
Eat various food groups moderately
Increase your intake of natural foods like nuts, seeds, and plants
Supplement your diet with prebiotic and probiotic foods (spinach, bananas, sauerkraut, etc.)
Every aspect of our health is affected by what we consume. A wonderful method to get your nutrition under control is to look for professional assistance.