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To determine whether history of severe, long-term, premorbid, psychological stress is associated with increased incidence of chronic physical symptoms in presumed
Lyme disease patients.
Fifty-seven patients presenting at
Lyme Disease Clinic of Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center were studied for presenting symptoms, presence or absence of
Lyme disease, and past history of psychological trauma. They were restudied 1 to 1.5 years later for presence or absence of physical symptoms. Statistical analyses compared symptom course for patients with and without
Lyme disease, antibiotic and nonantibiotic treatments, and past history of psychological trauma.
There was correlation between history of past traumatic psychological events and chronicity of physical symptoms whether or not the patient had presumed
Lyme disease or had received antibiotic treatment.
Traumatic psychological experiences predating onset of
Lyme disease symptoms may play an important etiologic role in the chronicity of these symptoms.