Lyme disease can be a debilitating illness having a profound effect on interpersonal relationships and a patient’s ability to function at home, in school, and in the workplace. Making matters worse, most chronic Lyme patients suffer from delayed or inaccurate diagnoses prior to finding a doctor who will treat their illness effectively. Some patients have spent months or even years trying different treatments that don’t work, since their diagnosis was, in fact, wrong. Patients often feel isolated and trapped when those around them do not understand the complexity of their illness and what they are experiencing.
Through the therapeutic process, you can expect to gain:
- An understanding of the nature of your illness and effective strategies to deal with it.
- An ability to cope with symptom flares and side effects of medications, while functioning at the highest possible level.
- An ability to advocate, if necessary, on behalf of a child with Lyme disease in their school and community.
- Enhanced communications and problem-solving skills both within and outside of your family.
- An ability to establish boundaries around those who lack an understanding of your illness.
Excerpt from Boundaries 101 for Lyme Patients
"When chronic Lyme patients are diagnosed, they enter a different world, a world that is not inhabited by their families or friends. It is hard to find medical professionals that understands this illness, and those close to the patient are reluctant to believe that he is so ill, since he doesn’t “look sick.” Patients often have difficulty reconciling the two worlds in which they live, the world of chronic Lyme, and the world that they share with family and friends. Often relationships suffer greatly for those who are living with Lyme. When the patient experiences a lack of empathy and understanding coming from those close to him, he may react in a number of different ways. He might spend endless and often futile hours trying to convince those he loves of the nature and consequences of his illness. He might come to doubt his own decisions, and withdraw from needed treatment. Or, he might cut himself off from family and friends, further isolating himself at a time when he really needs a support network. None of these solutions is good for the Lyme patient, or for his family."
BERENBAUM LYME DISEASE SCREENING PROTOCOL
1. History of changes in:
- behavior at home, school, the workplace or in other settings
- school performance or attendance
- sleeping and eating patterns
- socialization patterns, or dramatic change in peer group
- suicidal ideation or gestures
- new onset or intensification of PMS
2. History of changes in activity level, that could be suggestive of Lyme disease: Sudden loss of interest, or inability to participate in activities, such as organized sports, music, dance, drama, youth group. In adults, loss of interest in social activities and hobbies.
3. A discrete point in time at which problems began
4. History of onset of other psychiatric symptoms (panic attacks, OCD, hallucinations, cognitive and executive functioning problems) not present in early childhood, or prior to the onset of an array of symptoms.
5. History of use of psychiatric medications, with either no success in symptom reduction or a paradoxical response
6. History of any physical illness (flu, mononucleosis, bronchitis, strep) occurring prior to start of psychiatric, learning or behavioral problems
7. History of short term antibiotic treatment for medical problem (strep infection, etc.) with temporary improvement of symptoms.
CLINICAL EXPERIENCE – LYME DISEASE
Over the past 24 years, chronic Lyme disease patients have become a growing focus of my practice as I recognized the enormity of the illness and it’s impact on many of my clients. I am committed to working with adults, adolescents and children with Lyme disease, many of whom have complex cases.
For many years, I have been a member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), a nonprofit, multi-disciplinary medical society dedicated to the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of tick-borne diseases. As a member of ILADS, I maintain a commitment to ongoing Lyme disease education for myself. In addition, I take a role in providing education for others, by accepting opportunities to speak at ILADS annual conferences.