Homicide, two assaults, and suicide in Lyme disease patient


A case report by Dr. Robert Bransfield and colleagues describes a patient who developed substance abuse issues after struggling with Lyme disease and was eventually charged with homicide and two assaults. The patient later committed suicide.

The article entitled “A Fatal Case of Late Stage Lyme Borreliosis and Substance Abuse,”1 describes a patient exhibiting aggressiveness, violence, and homicidality. Like many Lyme disease patients, the man experienced a delay in diagnosis and treatment. (One study reports that subjects enrolling in a trial of Lyme encephalopathy were ill an average of two years before being diagnosed.2)

The patient’s Lyme disease symptoms progressed. “Further disease progression contributed to him feeling desperate as a result of multiple late-stage symptoms,” wrote Bransfield et al.  According to Fallon et al., the number of Lyme disease patients who feel desperate is not clear. 2

Based on more than 30 years of experience treating Lyme disease patients, Dr. Bransfield previously described a wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms in Lyme disease patients. “… neuropsychiatric symptoms, usually presenting with significant comorbidity which may include developmental disorders, autism spectrum disorders, schizoaffective disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders (panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, intrusive symptoms), eating disorders, decreased libido, sleep disorders, addiction, opioid addiction, cognitive impairments, dementia, seizure disorders, suicide, violence, anhedonia, depersonalization, dissociative episodes, derealization and other impairments.”3

“Further disease progression contributed to him feeling desperate as a result of multiple late-stage symptoms.”

The patient’s condition worsened.  “The pathophysiological effects of the infection resulted in an increased number and severity of multisystem symptoms, disability, and substance abuse,” the authors wrote. “He experimented with multiple substances in an effort for relief.”

The authors added, “During acute deterioration of his mental state from phencyclidine withdrawal, NMDA agonism increased, he committed a homicide, two assaults, and suicide.”

In an earlier study, Dr. Bransfield described substance abuse, cannabis use, and intoxication in Lyme disease patients.4

Bransfield and colleagues advised prompt diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease to help prevent addictive disorders, substance abuse, and death.

“More effective diagnosis and treatment and attention to substance abuse potential in these patients may help prevent some cases of addictive disorders, substance abuse, and death.”


  1. Bransfield RC, Embers ME, Dwork AJ. A Fatal Case of Late Stage Lyme Borreliosis and Substance Abuse. Abstract. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports. April 2023. Last viewed 4/1/23 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666915323000641?via%3Dihub
  2. Fallon BA, Keilp JG, Corbera KM, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of repeated IV antibiotic therapy for Lyme encephalopathy. Neurology. Mar 25 2008;70(13):992-1003. doi:10.1212/01.WNL.0000284604.61160.2d
  3. Bransfield RC. Neuropsychiatric Lyme Borreliosis: An Overview with a Focus on a Specialty Psychiatrist’s Clinical Practice. Healthcare (Basel). Aug 25 2018;6(3)doi:10.3390/healthcare6030104
  4. Bransfield RC. Aggressiveness, violence, homicidality, homicide, and Lyme disease. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2018;14:693-713. doi:10.2147/NDT.S155143

1 Reply to "Homicide, two assaults, and suicide in Lyme disease patient"

  • Fred Diamond
    04/12/2023 (3:40 pm)

    The results of this disease, as evidenced above, can be quite horrible.

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