Infection & Mental Health

In “The Role of Infections in Mental Illness,” Frank Strick notes that infectious disease can be a common cause for inducing psychiatric symptoms. Mental patients, for instance, have much higher rates of parasitic infection than the general population.

Common viral infections include:

  • Mononucleosis (the “kissing” disease), a type of herpes virus that attacks the body’s disease-fighting white blood cells as well as Herpes Simplex Type 2
  • Hepatitis, a common viral liver infection
  • Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain
  • Brucellosis, a chronic disease of farm animals that can be transmitted to humans

Herpes & Schizophrenia
Research done at the John Hopkins Children's Center found that mothers with Herpes Simplex Type 2 infection at the time of pregnancy had children almost six times more likely to later develop schizophrenia.

Two other particularly insidious and well recognized infectious diseases that are great mimickers of anxiety are lyme disease and strep throat.

Information taken from Anxiety: Hidden Causes