Depression common in Lyme disease patients

There is still reservation among some in the medical community as to whether mood disorders, such as depression, are, in fact, associated with Lyme disease. The authors of a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases explore the possible connection.

Zomer and colleagues found that 1 in 5 Lyme disease patients presenting to the Lyme Center Apeldoorn in the Netherlands between January 2008 and December 2014 were diagnosed with depression and Lyme disease. [1]

Depression was identified using the Dutch version of the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) questionnaire. The BDI-II scale has been used as a screening tool for patients who might benefit from further psychological evaluation for diagnosing depression.

Using the BDI-II scale, the prevalence of moderate/severe depressive symptoms was similar between patients with clinical Lyme disease whether they presented with positive or negative serologic testing (19.3% and 20.9% respectively).

The authors conclude that depressive symptoms were common in Lyme disease patients referred to their center, but they point out that the study was not designed to “determine whether the patients might have had depression prior to their clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease.”

“To optimize care and treatment of patients suspected of LB [Lyme borreliosis] visiting a tertiary Lyme center,” the authors state, “we recommend patients to be screened for depressive symptoms so that, if indicated, they can benefit from psychological referral.”


Related articles:

16-year-old boy with Lyme disease presenting as depression

Lyme disease patients struggle with depression

Suicidal behaviors in patients with Lyme and associated diseases



  1. Zomer, T.P., et al., Depressive Symptoms in Patients Referred to a Tertiary Lyme Center: High Prevalence in Those Without Evidence of Lyme Borreliosis. Clin Infect Dis, 2017. 65(10): p. 1689-1694.


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