No Increased Risk for Psychiatric Disorders in Individuals With Lyme Disease

07 September 2020, Brandenburg, Sieversdorf: In the back light the shadow of a tick (Ixodida) can be seen on a leaf. Here the bloodsucking ectoparasite is waiting for its prey. Many tick species are important disease carriers. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)
In order to investigate the risk of psychiatric disease, the percentage of psychiatric hospital inpatient and outpatient contacts, and the receipt of prescribed psychiatric medications among patients in Denmark with Lyme neuroborreliosis was compared with individuals in a matched comparison cohort.

Patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) do not have an increased risk for the development of a psychiatric disease that requires hospitalization or prescription treatment, according to results of a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

LNB has been associated with a variety of psychiatric conditions, but no nationwide, population-based cohort study with long-term follow up has been conducted.

To evaluate the association between LNB and the risk of developing psychiatric disorders, Danish national health data from 31,867 individuals (43.2% women) was analyzed. A total of 2897 included individuals with a positive B burgdorferi antibody and 28,970 individuals who served as a control population.

Included individuals were an average of 45.7 (interquartile range [IQR], 11.5-62.0) years of age. Inpatient and outpatient psychiatric hospital contacts as well as psychiatric drug prescription fulfillment was extracted from national health databases. Data was extracted annually for up to 15 years after study inclusion.

No increase in the overall risk for the development of psychiatric disorders or any subcategory of psychiatric disorder was observed in patients with LNB compared with individuals in the control group. No significant difference in the receipt of prescriptions for psychiatric medications was observed between groups.

Limitations to this study include the lack of access to psychiatric disorder testing scores as well as its use of Danish data only. Future studies in other regions and with greater demographic diversity are warranted.

The results of this study showed that patients with LNB do not experience long-term increases in psychiatric disorder, hospitalization, or treatment compared with those without LNB.


Tetens MM, Haahr R, Dessau RB, et al. Assessment of the risk of psychiatric disorders, use of psychiatric hospitals, and receipt of psychiatric medication among patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis in Denmark. [published online October 7, 2020]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.2915