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It’s not always in your head – Lyme is on the rise

You’ve probably been hearing a lot in the news lately about ticks being on the rise in Canada.  This is a serious concern as ticks, which can range in size from a poppy seed to a pea, can carry a host of illnesses one of which is Lyme Disease.   Lyme disease is a serious illness caused by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick.  The problem is that Lyme Disease can easily be misdiagnosed as MS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or even a mental illness.   A study in Europe showed that psychiatric in-patients were nearly twice as likely as the general population to test positive for Lyme Disease.   Lyme Disease has been linked to virtually every psychiatric diagnosis in the DSM including anxiety and depression, insomnia, panic attacks, OCD, and attention problems.  Unfortunately, many cases of Lyme Disease may be missed as most physicians have been taught to look for a bulls-eye rash or evidence of a tick bite. However, fewer than half of Lyme patients recall being bitten or develop the tell-tale rash.  So how can  you tell if you might have Lyme Disease instead of a mental health issue?  There are some clues.  With Lyme Disease, a patient’s symptoms don’t quite fit the textbook definition – there might not be a history of psychological problems, symptoms can come and go in cycles, there might be other symptoms not generally associated with psychological issues such as severe pain, ringing in the ear, or night sweats.   Early diagnosis and treatment are key to a full recovery from Lyme.  So be tick aware this summer and reduce your chances of getting Lyme Disease.  For more information on Prevention and Awareness of Lyme Disease visit www.canlyme.com.