It has been recently put forward by scientists working in both the fields of Lyme disease and ADHD that there is a connection between the two: namely that Lyme disease mimics many of the symptoms of ADHD. Symptoms such as having difficulty with focusing on certain tasks for a long period of time or remembering important information could easily be attributed to ADHD.
However, many of these symptoms are also related to Lyme disease, and due to many people's willingness to diagnose those symptoms as ADHD with little thought to any possible alternatives, ADHD medication could in fact worsen the condition of someone with Lyme disease. However, testing them for Lyme disease and then putting them on antibiotics should see the symptoms of the supposed ADHD disappear in a very short space of time indeed.
The most common period of a patient's life in which ADHD occurs is childhood. Because of their age and their placement in an academic environment, it is easy to blame ADHD for a loss in grades or difficulty in concentrating. But by testing antibiotics, we can spare these children a Ritalin prescription, which if anything will worsen their grades and enjoyment of school.
One of the key challenges in treating Lyme disease is the diagnosis itself. It is difficult to diagnose and doctors only be able to establish it as the cause for the wide variety of symptoms it induces in the patient only around 65% of the time. This can be extremely debilitating for children, and of course illness could seriously harm their ability to maintain their grades at school .
This can be an issue with many health problems - too often we mis-diagnose because some of the information available on the internet is not always as reliable as we would like to think. Unfortunately, self-diagnosis or amateur diagnosis can lead to the wrong medication, which often ends up doing more harm than good.
It is important to rely on the expertise of medical professionals and never to jump to conclusions. ADHD is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed disorders and this is sometimes simply due to a reluctance to accept a bored, fidgety child in class is sometimes being just that - a bored, fidgety child. With the right diagnosis, or simply a motivational approach that deals with the child in question, things can be turned around in a very short space of time.
It is important, however, to treat an actual case of Lyme disease as soon as possible, as left unchecked matters can become unpleasant quite rapidly. It can however usually be treated with antibiotics, and the course is usually not too long. However, next time someone seems convinced that ADHD is the only option, ensure the doctor makes a thorough check for other possible causes.
It is all too easy to simply prescribe Ritalin and be done with it, but this costs us the opportunity to become better at recognising Lyme disease as a direct result. Take care and be thorough, because you never know - diagnoses can be wrong.