by Dr. Bill Rawls
Nearly everyone with Lyme disease will experience bouts of depression, anxiety, or insomnia at some point throughout the course of treatment. Can herbs be a helpful tool to cope? Here, Dr. Bill Rawls touches on his personal experience with depression, anxiety, and insomnia and provides some herbal remedies you can use during those tough days. Read more about Lyme, depression, and anxiety here.
Question: Can Lyme cause depression, anxiety, or insomnia?
Tim Yarborough: From Ralph wondering, can Lyme cause severe depression, anxiety, or insomnia?
Dr. Rawls: Who with chronic Lyme disease doesn’t get severe depression, anxiety, and insomnia? I know I did. I mean it. Yeah, I mean, your body is in a tailspin. Your whole world falls apart, and you see no future. Yeah. Plus, your brain’s on fire from the microbes there. Yeah. Depression and anxiety are really common. And insomnia, too.
Interestingly, the thing that helped with my insomnia more than anything else was the herbs. Because, as you’re reducing the microbe count, the autoimmune phenomenon, the inflammation, your brain’s not on fire anymore. You feel better. And as you feel better, those kinds of symptoms reduce. The less you can use conventional drug therapy to suppress the symptoms, generally, the better off you’re going to be.
There are a lot of herbs out there, like CBD, Albizia, which is actually the scientific name for the mimosa plant that can really have some nice effects. Ashwagandha has a balancing effect on the hypothalamus and can have some mood elevating and antidepressant properties. So the herbs are not as strong as drugs, but they really, really have a nice effect, CBD especially.
I’ve had some people really get some wonderful effects for anxiety, and it can help with sleep in a lot of people. So you have some options there. Hang in there. The big thing is just knowing that you can get better. And I had some dark days, let me tell you. I mean, it was, you know, you’re in this space where you feel like you’re running on 50% all the time, and you feel like you’ve got the flu every day, and it’s a miserable existence, and you’re trying to get through life. And people look at you, and they don’t understand.
It’s depressing, and it definitely causes anxiety. So, yeah, I think it’s part and parcel of the whole thing. But persevere. Patience. There are things that can get you through. You can pull this out, and it’s just a matter of being persistent. Recovery takes a while. The herbs take a long time to work. I think it’s really important to appreciate that we’re not treating the illness as much as we are allowing the body to heal itself by suppressing the microbes and supporting ourselves, so the cells have an environment that they can heal, and it takes time for a lot of different tissues.
It’s like skin cells: well, you turn those over every day. Heart and brain cells will take about a year or more to turnover. Healing takes a lot of time. So you have to stay on the herbs. You have to really eat a nutritious diet. A nontoxic environment. Keeping your stress down. Keeping blood flowing by either exercise, or a sauna. These are things that have to be a central part of that recovery process. But the herbs do make it go faster, and they make it possible.
Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls’ new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme.
You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.