Do You Have PTSD or CTSD Due to Lyme Disease?

Do You Have PTSD or CTSD Due to Lyme Disease?

More and more people are moving out of the highly endemic areas of the East Coast and moving to places that have a lower incidence of Lyme disease.

I am moving too. After spending the last 30 years in Massachusetts and the ski country of Maine I am joining the retirees in the trek to Florida. I know there is plenty of Lyme in Florida but not the numbers further north, and the warm weather and sunshine is a required part of recovery for me.

The truth is that when you stay indoors all winter, summer is a wonderful time to go outside and enjoy nature. However, when you are afraid to go outside from spring through fall, your life becomes dull and depressing.

I always viewed the woods in New England as God’s own church – a sanctuary that was inviting, beautiful and restorative. I now feel betrayed by that same glorious sanctuary.  Instead of enthusiasm I experience constant fear and anxiety. The first day I was able to get out of bed and sit on the front porch in the sunshine I saw a small dead branch on a rose bush I reached down from the porch to snap it off and immediately found a deer tick on my arm!

Hysteria doesn’t begin to describe my reaction which, if it had been filmed, might have even appeared funny, but I was not even aware of reality as I screamed and walked in circles trying to figure out what to do with the tick I had pinched in my fingers. I stupidly threw it on the front lawn in tears and then went back inside to stay. My therapist diagnosed PTSD. That was 4 years ago.


Most people rolled their eyes when I tried to describe the terror and fear so I just stopped telling people, but when I spent four wonderful months in Hawaii last winter I felt the incredible difference in walking outside in up country Maui on long winding roads overlooking the ocean or for miles on the beach – never once worried about ticks.

How relieved I was to find the following article a few days ago by Dr. David Jernigan, Founder, Owner & Physician Director at Hansa Center for Optimum Health.  I think his blog ( auto-posts to Linked-In which is where I found it.

Shattered by Illness! PTSD and CTSD in Lyme Disease & Chronic Illness

When a person’s life and dreams are shattered due to chronic illness it almost always sets up a Chronic Traumatic Stress Disorder (CTSD).

Much like our wounded warriors and others who have suffered through prolonged stressful events and have the predictable physical and emotional problems we know as PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, people who have been through the life devastation brought on by illnesses, such as Lyme disease, cancer, multiple chemical sensitivity, and the wide array of other degenerative illnesses also suffer predictable physical and emotional consequences of the severe trauma from the devastation of their life from their illness.

A person with CTSD does not have to look like the woman pictured with this article. They might look perfectly calm, cool, and collected. They might indeed have no overt emotional issues associated with their CTSD, yet the stress placed upon their body by the illness and the treatments is still causing predictable functional problems from adrenal fatigue that can drag the person down for years after the illness is resolved.

At the Hansa Center for Optimum Health, our doctors have treated tens of thousands of chronically ill people. I would say that the majority of the people had received their diagnosis elsewhere and their previous doctors had just pounded their body with antibiotics, in the case of Lyme disease, and hammered their body with various prescriptions, with little thought given to supporting the rest of the body, and definitely no thought of how these medicines act as a stressor to the body, and the illness itself is a physical and emotional stressor, and life issues while sick is a stressor…all of which drag down the primary stress-regulating glands of the body…the adrenal glands.

Just like what we are seeing with our returning wounded military soldiers, the fighting is over, the stressful war is behind them, yet their bodies and minds are ravaged by the effects of chronic stress.

In chronic illness, so much time and energy…and money…is spent in efforts to “kill the bugs” and to detoxify the body, chasing one symptom after another. One of the most important issues to address in people who have had prolonged infections is to rebuild and heal the tissues that have been damaged by these infections.

Infections are often like having termites damaging the wood in your house. You can use toxic chemicals to kill the bugs, but even when successful, these toxic substances are now lodged in your house, and they do nothing to correct the wood damage the termites caused. Any stiff wind will damage your house further…you are more susceptible and sensitive to challenges.

The adrenal glands are our stress-response regulating glands of the body. The adrenal glands sit atop both kidneys like melting scoops of ice cream. They motivate the rest of the body to prepare for battle against whatever perceived attack is present. You might say they are our body’s security alarm system. The adrenal glands are one of the first glands to fatigue when a person is stuck in the “Fight or flight” mode of the sympathetic nervous system. Read more about the predictable symptoms of adrenal fatigue: Adrenal Symptoms

Every case of CTSD and PTSD has adrenal problems that must be addressed before the person can regain the functional integrity and optimum health they seek.

If you feel that you have internal vibration in your body, like you cannot get your hormones balanced, if you feel your are not the same even after your doctor proclaimed you “cured,” if you have no energy, no motivation, no ability to deal with stressful situations, if you are suffering from sleeplessness at night and fatigue all day…ask your doctor to do a saliva cortisol and DHEA test at the least. My favorite lab for this testing is The best is to do a 24 hour saliva cortisol test where you collect four saliva samples that day, and test also the DHEA level.

The doctors at the Hansa Center have used this test for many years to help determine not just adrenal function, but we can add on other tests to your saliva collection that will show what is going on at the cellular level regarding all of the male and female hormones and even gluten, casein, soy, egg allergies.

You are your own best health advocate. If you doctor has not done this testing then ask him/her to order it for you. Your doctor cannot fix what they don’t know is messed up!

Read entire article here:

I’m not sure I agree with everything Dr. Jernigan says because my adrenal glands are tested twice a year and have never shown any abnormality (which frustrates my doctor who believes there SHOULD be a connection), but the fact remains that we are all so different and our immune systems are different.

People die for lack of antibiotics with many infections so I have never believed that the baby should be thrown out with the bath water. However, there are people who recover using other alternative protocols and I try to promote as many protocols as possible even though it is actually penicillin that helped me turn the corner and get out of bed.

I certainly agree with Dr. Jernigan’s philosophy that patients should make informed choices about their treatment. For more information about Dr. Jernigan, and the Hansa Center go to:

To watch the many educational videos they have go to:

(Visited 114 times, 1 visits today)
Subscribe to Jenna's Lyme Blog
Yes, I want to subscribe. I understand I will only receive one email each month when there are new posts.
This entry was posted in Ask the Doctor, Chronic Lyme Disease, Coping with Lyme disease, Lyme Disease Symptoms, Lyme Disease Treatment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *