View Full Version : ADHD and Lyme Disease?


ADDofftheWall
04-24-15, 05:22 PM
There's been increased awareness about the deleterious effects of Lyme disease. It seems that the condition may inadvertently provoke symptoms akin to ADHD. If Lyme disease goes untreated, then it is likely to cause cognitive impairments and damage to the central nervous system, that could be irreversible depending on the severity. Some doctors have found lesions on people's brains and it seems that the disease essentially kills brain cells. Researchers think that Lyme may be one of the risk factors associated with developing Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, ALS, and even Huntington's Disease.

I have noticed that some people diagnosed with the condition often have difficulties communicating and interacting with people. Their overall behavior is similar to what I have experienced with my ADHD, more or less. I find that a bit concerning because from what it seems, there is no cure and people with Lyme rarely regain their original quality of life. I can only imagine how life with ADD/ADHD would be like in conjunction with Lyme disease.

Has anyone with an attention disorder been diagnosed with Lyme? What is the experience like? I am sure it would be much different in comparison to a person experiencing each condition, separately. To be honest, I am petrified of the outdoors upon learning about the condition. Our brain's are already dysfunctional and Lyme would only thwart any progress made towards improvement.

In other words, stay out of the woods!!

hg12345
04-24-15, 05:39 PM
There are many different viruses and diseases that can appear similar to adhd. The reason is that anything that impairs cognitive function looks like adhd! For example lead poisoning includes decreased attention span, hyperactivity, memory loss...sounds like me....without the lead!

daveddd
04-24-15, 05:40 PM
there is a large list of conditions that can lead to adhd

Lunacie
04-24-15, 05:46 PM
there is a large list of conditions that can lead to adhd

I don't think that's true.

There is a large list of conditions that can MIMIC ADHD.

daveddd
04-24-15, 05:47 PM
I don't think that's true.

There is a large list of conditions that can MIMIC ADHD.

add is just a symptom group, its not a specific disease

several genetic conditions are already known culprits in add cases

Lunacie
04-24-15, 09:48 PM
add is just a symptom group, its not a specific disease

several genetic conditions are already known culprits in add cases

A competent doctor would rule out other conditions that could account for those symptoms.

TheChemicals
04-24-15, 10:04 PM
I was tossed in a pool when i was 7 months old and was underwater for a bit....adhd

namazu
04-25-15, 12:41 AM
I've had Lyme Disease -- though I contracted it years after being diagnosed with ADHD, and it was treated promptly, so I doubt that there's any connection in my case.

Lyme Disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferii, which is transmitted by the bite of infected deer ticks.

It is treatable with antibiotics, especially in the early stages. (In my case, I had the characteristic spreading rash, and saw my doctor within a week of infection -- which I could trace back to a hike I took in an area well-known to have lots of infected ticks.)

If you get infected but don't have the characteristic symptoms or suspect Lyme Disease, an accurate diagnosis may be harder to come by (though you'd likely have antibodies, demonstrating you'd been infected at some point). If Lyme goes untreated for a long time, as you said, there is a possibility of neurological involvement, and although treatment is still possible for an active infection, some damage may be irreversible.

There are also people whose bodies seem to (over-)react to the bacteria in a way that may cause chronic problems, even if the actual bacteria are long gone. In trying to destroy the bacteria, the body may mistakenly produce antibodies against its own tissue, or cause an inflammatory response that ultimately does more harm than good to the person. This isn't yet well understood, and there are some controversies out there (about whether or not the bacteria are really gone, and how to treat people with chronic symptoms that may be autoimmune in nature).

In general, though, Lyme Disease is not responsible for ADHD, and it usually doesn't cause ADHD-like symptoms. Difficulties with communication aren't typical in Lyme Disease (though other symptoms could certainly contribute). (For that matter, communication difficulties may exist in people with ADHD, especially with some comorbid conditions, but they're not a "signature" feature of ADHD, either.) Only if left untreated for months or years is Lyme likely to cause neurological problems. Among people who end up with chronic symptoms, fatigue and joint pain are common. Short-term memory problems can occur, but these would usually not be confused with ADHD -- especially if their onset was in adulthood. (That said, you're right, extra symptoms wouldn't help matters for someone who already had ADHD!)

In the Pacific Northwest, and really most of the U.S. South and West, it's very uncommon for ticks to be infected with the Lyme bacteria. There are hardly any cases reported in these areas (http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/maps/interactiveMaps.html), and some of those cases may have been infected in the endemic areas (Upper Midwest, Northeast). So if you're in the Sea-Tac area, your risk is very, very, very low.

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/images/transitions/map17.jpg
(Map from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Add to that, if you wear bug repellent, and/or long socks/pants, and/or check yourself (and pets) for ticks after spending time outside, there's even less reason to think you would become infected, even in one of the endemic areas.

If you are bit by a tick, and it's a kind of tick known to spread disease (Lyme or otherwise -- there are some other nasties that ticks can transmit as well), save the tick and see a doctor ASAP. In the unlikely event you do contract Lyme, starting antibiotics right away generally clears things up quickly, without long-term consequences.

But the adverse consequences to your physical and mental health of avoiding all outdoor activity are likely to be far worse than the very, very small risk of contracting Lyme Disease!

Go out and play!

hg12345
04-26-15, 12:01 AM
I was tossed in a pool when i was 7 months old and was underwater for a bit....adhd

You must have had frontal cortex brain damage. Im feel sorry for you

sarahsweets
04-26-15, 05:16 AM
All three of my children have adhd and all three have also been treated for lymes disease. We live in deer tick central around here and their symptoms were never the same as adhd.