Proposed Lyme Disease Guidelines and Psychiatric Illnesses

Healthcare (Basel). 2019 Sep 9;7(3):105. doi: 10.3390/healthcare7030105.


The Infectious Disease Society of America, American Academy of Neurology, and American Academy of Rheumatology jointly proposed Lyme disease guidelines. Four areas most relevant to psychiatry were reviewed-the disclaimer, laboratory testing, and adult and pediatric psychiatric sections. The disclaimer and the manner in which these guidelines are implemented are insufficient to remove the authors and sponsoring organizations from liability for harm caused by these guidelines. The guidelines and supporting citations place improper credibility upon surveillance case definition rather than clinical diagnosis criteria. The guidelines fail to address the clear causal association between Lyme disease and psychiatric illnesses, suicide, violence, developmental disabilities and substance abuse despite significant supporting evidence. If these guidelines are published without very major revisions, and if the sponsoring medical societies attempt to enforce these guidelines as a standard of care, it will directly contribute to increasing a national and global epidemic of psychiatric illnesses, suicide, violence, substance abuse and developmental disabilities and the associated economic and non-economic societal burdens. The guideline flaws could be improved with a more appropriate disclaimer, an evidence-based rather than an evidence-biased approach, more accurate diagnostic criteria, and recognition of the direct and serious causal association between Lyme disease and psychiatric illnesses.

Keywords: American Academy of Neurology (AAN); American Academy of Rheumatology (AAR); Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA); Lyme disease; disclaimer; guidelines; mental illnesses; psychiatric; standards.

Publication types

  • Review