Bartonella and Psychiatric Symptoms
First, this emerging infection is found in cities, suburbs and rural locations. Presently routine national labs offer testing of questionable quality for only two species, but at least nine have been discovered as human infections within the last 15 years. Some authors discuss Bartonella cases having atypical presentations, with serious problems considered uncharacteristic of more routine Bartonella infections. Some “atypical” findings include: distortion of vision, abdominal pain, severe liver and spleen tissue abnormalities, bone infection, arthritis, abscesses, skin sores, and heart tissue and heart valve problems. While some articles discuss Bartonella as a cause of neurological illnesses, psychiatric illnesses have received virtually no attention. This is amazing, because many of my Bartonella patients have some character, mood or cognitive alterations. This is a complete blind spot in Psychiatry and Neurology circles. Further, their dosing of psychiatric medications is radically different. Some can only tolerate 1/8th of the smallest Lexapro and others need 70 mgs per day to have a stable mood.
The presence of Bartonella-induced psychiatric symptoms should not be surprising for a number of reasons. First, psychiatric disorders are brain disorders and Bartonella is documented as causing many diverse neurological brain disorders. Bartonella infections are associated with red blood cells (RBC), which allow small Bartonella bacteria, a fraction of the RBC cell size to enter the brain’s vascular system. These Bartonella-infected cells penetrate brain tissue. Finally, with 9-10 species or subspecies that can infect humans, it is possible this larger number of species can produce a wider range of signs and symptoms-some of which might be psychiatric in nature. Below, I offer a medical case with psychiatric symptoms that emerged during a Bartonella infection.
A Sample Case
A 41 year-old male minister from Wisconsin was reported by his wife, best friends and children to have a personality change after a camping trip in North Carolina . After the trip, the patient described a small right-sided “aching” armpit lymph node and as having a “slight fever feeling.” He reported removing three Ixodes deer ticks that resembled “large dust particles glued to his leg and shoulder.” Five weeks later, he reported an “enlarged and very annoying” right-sided armpit lymph node, feelings of excessive warmth, irritability, severe insomnia and new-onset eccentric rage. He also reported a new sensitivity to otherwise only slightly annoying smells and sounds. His afternoon temperatures were 98.7-99.9 ¡F, which he recorded every 3 days on the advice of a relative who was a Physician Assistant.
His internist found the patient to be negative for Lyme disease using the CDC two-tier surveillance testing procedure performed at Quest diagnostics and IGeneX’s PCR and Western Blot test. It was felt that the patient might have Bartonella based on his unilateral lymph node symptom and Ixodes attachment. This physician felt that since the duration of the lymph node ache was at least five weeks, that “atypical” Bartonella should be considered in the differential. “Atypical” means that the man had more than a simple cold, passing sore throat and transient low-grade fever.
The patient was ordered a Bartonella henselae IgG and IgM along with other lab testing which was negative, including a PCR test for Bartonella. However, the Fry Blood Smear Test came back as positive.
Filed under: Bartonella - A Hidden, Emerging Epidemic, Lyme Disease, Lyme Disease Info, Lyme Disease Info & Help, Psychiatric Symptoms | Tagged: Anger & panic, Bartonella - A Hidden, Emerging Epidemic, Depression, Psychiatric Symptoms | Leave a comment »