New Film Focuses on Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

According to a story from, a new documentary film from Elle Brooks-Tao titled “I’m Not Crazy, I’m Sick” delves into the stories of three people living with long-term Lyme disease symptoms. While normally Lyme disease symptoms can be resolved successfully with proper treatment, in a small subset of patients, symptoms can persist for month or even longer. Once dubbed “chronic” Lyme disease, the scientific community now uses the term post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome to describe patients with persistent, residual symptoms.

About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Borrelia. This bacterium is commonly spread to humans through the bite of a tick. In the US, the species of tick associated with Lyme disease is called the deer tick or the black legged tick (Ixodes scapularis). A tick must be attached to a person for at least 36 hours to transmit the bacteria. Symptoms of this disease include a distinctive bullseye rash surrounding the bite, fatigue, malaise, headache, and fever. Delays in treatment can lead to more serious symptoms, such as facial paralysis, mood changes, memory loss, sleeping difficulties, meningitis, arthritis, and others. In most cases, prompt treatment can effectively cure the infection. Delayed treatment increases the chance of serious complications and long term, lingering symptoms. The number of cases of the disease appears to be growing annually. To learn more about this disease, click here.

A Growing Health Concern

Lyme disease is becoming more common in the US as ticks increase their population and remain active for a longer duration of the year. Research also found that Borrelia spirochetes can develop resistance to antibiotics, and, rarely, can be transferred from a pregnant mother to her fetus. The film follows three patients left in dire circumstances by the disease: a father of five, living in Maine, who struggles with access to proper treatment; a young woman whose family has shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain treatment; and a singer from Maryland whose insurance refuses to cover her specialist treatments.

The film also delves into the aspect of persistent or chronic Lyme disease, which is a subject of heated debate. Some authorities don’t believe that this form of the disease exists, even though there are many patients that attest to it; filmmaker Brooks-Tao noted that people who were on opposite sides of the debate wouldn’t even appear together on camera.

Patients, meanwhile, are caught in the middle with symptoms too vague and generalized to establish a clear diagnosis. If you don’t look sick, many people will refuse to believe that you are.

Learn more about the film here.

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