Can Lyme Disease Cause Depression?

Can Lyme Disease Cause Depression


Erin was just 9 years old, but she had already been plagued by depression and other issues for years. She had taken antidepressants and other medications, but they hadn’t helped her. In fact, they made her worse. When Erin started talking about suicide, her parents knew they had to do more for their daughter. They took her for a brain imaging test called SPECT that looks at activity and blood flow in the brain.

Erin’s brain scan did not look healthy. It showed notable overactivity, which can be an indicator of inflammation. Blood tests and lab work revealed that the young girl had Lyme disease as well as other issues. Antidepressants would never heal the underlying infection.

Lyme Disease in the Brain

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick. Untreated, Lyme disease and other infections can interfere with the immune system and lead to inflammation. They can also cause changes in the brain that impact moods, learning, and more.

On SPECT brain scans, infectious diseases like Lyme disease can make the brain look like it has been exposed to toxins. A toxic appearance is a sign of a troubled brain.

The Lyme-Mental Health Link

Many people are surprised to learn that infectious diseases, including Lyme disease, are a major contributor to mental illnesses and cognitive issues. Research shows that children who have had an infectious disease are significantly more likely to have mental health problems as they grow up. In a study that followed over 3.5 million people, scientists found a 62% increase in the risk for mood disorders if a person had been hospitalized for any type of infection.

Why Don’t Most Doctors Test for Lyme?

Unfortunately, few healthcare professionals are aware of the connection between infections like Lyme disease and psychiatric problems like depression. If you go to your doctor and tell them you have symptoms of depression, you’re likely to walk out of the appointment with a prescription for antidepressants. But it is unlikely that they will do testing for infectious diseases or brain imaging. Because of this, Lyme disease often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, allowing the immune system disruption, systemic inflammation, and brain changes to worsen.

This needs to change.

Getting a comprehensive evaluation that includes brain imaging and lab screening tests helps provide a more accurate diagnosis, which is key for zeroing in on the proper treatment. As more people in the medical community become aware of the problem, infectious disease psychiatry is likely to emerge within the next 30 years as a major discipline of psychiatry.

Targeting the Infection to Help Treat the Depression

When it is caught early, Lyme disease can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics. When it has been present in your system for months or years and is accompanied by depression or other psychiatric or cognitive problems, additional treatments may be necessary. A comprehensive treatment program worked for 9-year-old Erin, who went from having depression and suicidal thoughts to experiencing a remarkable turnaround.

At Amen Clinics we have treated hundreds of patients with treatment-resistant psychiatric symptoms like depression who tested positive for Lyme disease. When their treatment plan included targeted solutions for the infection, they finally got the help they needed. If you or a loved one has symptoms of depression that aren’t responding to treatment, speak to a specialist about getting a full brain-body evaluation to discover if infection like Lyme disease might be the root cause. For more information, call 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.



  1. This kind of information needs to be sent to all doctors to make them aware of how Lyme effects people.

    Comment by Susan — June 1, 2019 @ 7:08 AM

  2. As a victim of Lymes disease for most of my life I know what kind of effects it can have on all of your systems. To answer the question yes vey Definately it cam cause depression as well as many other things medically,physically ,mentally and emotionally. I know what helped me was to take a yeast supplement along with a multivitamin and a B complex.

    Comment by Patricia A. Edwards — June 3, 2019 @ 8:15 AM

  3. It’s very worth mentioning that mainstream Lyme tests are GROSSLY inaccurate, with an accuracy rate of 50-60%. That’s totally unacceptable and wouldn’t even be used were it a test for HIV or another illness. The lying CDC, NIH, WHO and other agencies are aware but continue to put out FALSE info about Lyme and late-stage Lyme, which is totally debilitating!

    What tests do you use to confirm Lyme?

    Most ppl can’t afford brain scans btw.

    God’s grace and help are the only reasons I’ve lived to tell about my 20 YEAR nightmare with late-stage neuro Lyme disease.

    Comment by Diane Supowit — June 3, 2019 @ 11:52 AM

  4. Can Lyme disease still cause depression after a diagnosis? I know someone who had a serious case of it and was treated with antibiotics interveinously.

    Comment by Abby Hunsberger — June 5, 2019 @ 12:56 PM

  5. Try doing some research on the Plum Island facility off the coast of Long Island NY. The CDC doesn’t give a damn about Lyme disease because they were some of the idiots trying to weaponize it back in the 70’s. True it has existed in nature for thousands of years, however, it has not been as concentrated as it had been after the 1970’s. Strange how it probably passed from ticks to sea birds that nested on the island. Low and behold the first documented outbreak occurred in Lyme Connecticut right across from where the facility is located. Please understand I am a rational person and I don’t believe most conspiracy theories. But it seems to me that the complete lack of information on Lymes and the fact the CDC has no interest in preventing or completing a vaccine makes me wonder. It’s time to stop believing the stupid lullabies they have been feeding us for years and start asking for help with this obvious epidemic.

    Comment by Charles Abbiner — July 29, 2019 @ 2:42 PM

  6. Indeed there is a link to Lyme disease and depression. I was bitten in late July and in Late august began having trouble sleeping and feeling disconnected . I had the classic stabbing pains in my chest and a low grade fever. My waking hours felt like I was in a disturbing dream and my sleeping hours felt like I was awake. I knew I probably had the disease and took a six week course of antibiotics which did the trick in eliminating the disease. (My Mexican GP took no chances and opted for six weeks of pills) But the following three months I sank into a depression with suicidal ideas. It seemed a struggle just to do anything. I later spoke to a colleague who had the disease and was cured. She assured me all was well it was just the lingering effects of the disease. She experienced the same. After several months the clouds lifted and I began getting back to the happy self I was before.

    Comment by B. Avalon — October 29, 2019 @ 5:33 AM

  7. We live in OH. Where is the closest Amen clinic to us and what would be the cost for an evaluation and a brain scan?

    Comment by Virginia Cadle — November 4, 2019 @ 10:47 AM

  8. Hello Virginia, we have 8 clinic locations and the closest to you would likely be in Bannockburn, IL. The cost varies for different types of consultations and evaluations, but our Care Coordinators are able to walk you through those options. We also offer an array of alternative services – For more information, you can reach us with this contact info –

    Comment by Amen Clinics — November 5, 2019 @ 8:27 AM

  9. I am so sorry to hear your story but there are thousands out there with Lyme disease that don’t even know it. They need to acknowledge it for insurance purposes and do something about it because it is life debilitating. I just came from helping my granddaughter who has had it since she was 3 years old but all the doctors treated different symptoms not the whole body symptoms of Lyme disease. She is now 21 and been on treatments for 3 years. The biggest help has been her Rife machine but most people can’t afford it with all its supplies which was $10,000 and no insurance covering it. It is a terrible disease and I’m so sorry you have had to go through this. I know that it never really leaves you so God bless you as you continue in life.

    Comment by Ann Larsen — November 14, 2019 @ 5:21 PM

  10. You are so totally right. You are not fanatical just adamant about life and how Lyme disease effects people. My granddaughter has it and it has to be allocated her since she was 3 years old and no doctors could diagnose it. If they would see it as a real thing and have insurance cover it more people could get help and not bead debilitated all their lives she is now 21 infighting every moment of the day with pain and depression. It’s an awful disease people need to be aware of and they need to make a cure for it. Thousands of people are affected and I am totally disappointed in how the medical field has neglected it.

    Comment by Ann Larsen — November 14, 2019 @ 5:27 PM

  11. Thank God literally for you doing better. I’m so happy for you. My granddaughter has been going through treatments for 3 years now and is finally improving with the help of the Rife machine. God bless all those with Lyme disease and may the government acknowledge it and help with insurance

    Comment by Ann Larsen — November 14, 2019 @ 5:29 PM

  12. Thank you so much for your post!

    You gave me hope, as suddenly and for the first time in my long life, almost debilitating depression is suddenly present, cannot think of anything but my Lyme causing it. Acquired it June 30, 2019. Started antibiotics, cats claw and Otoba end of Aug. still on all three.

    So maybe this depression is a good sign with a limited duration. Maybe I can get my wonderful life back.

    Thank you!

    Comment by S. Greer — November 26, 2019 @ 9:53 AM

  13. I agree I will never know for sure if I had lyme due to tests that kept coming back negative but I had all the symptoms and was in pain I’ll never forget. I had Insurance and that didn’t help if your doctor is incompetent. I was finally treated with antibiotics but it didn’t seem to make any difference in recovery time. The only thing that speed up my recovery was high doses oh D3 and magnesium. This was recommended to me by a retired nurse at health food store when I lost all hope I went there. God help us all….

    Comment by I agree — February 7, 2020 @ 5:06 AM

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