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Lyme Disease Tied to Higher Risk for Psychiatric Conditions, Suicide

Risk particularly heightened in the six months following diagnosis

TUESDAY, Aug. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Patients hospitalized with Lyme disease have a higher rate of mental disorders and attempted suicide after infection, according to a study published online July 28 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Brian A. Fallon, M.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues used data from the Denmark National Patient Register and the Psychiatric Central Research Register (1994 through 2016) to assess the risk for mental disorders and suicidal behaviors among all individuals diagnosed with Lyme borreliosis in inpatient and outpatient hospital contacts (12,156 patients).

The researchers found that individuals with Lyme borreliosis had higher rates of any mental disorder (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.28), affective disorders (IRR, 1.42), suicide attempts (IRR, 2.01), and death by suicide (IRR, 1.75) compared with individuals without Lyme borreliosis. The highest rate of any mental disorder (IRR,1.96) was seen in the six months after diagnosis, while the highest rate of suicide (IRR, 2.41) was seen in the first three years after diagnosis.

“Although the absolute population risk is low, clinicians should be aware of potential psychiatric sequelae of this global disease,” the authors write.

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