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Bacterial disorders are illnesses caused by bacteria. These can have a number of neurological and behavioral effects.

Psychologists are interested in this group of diseases for several reasons:

  • They may be prevented by appropriate behavior and psychologists have something to say about how to present warnings and educate people about their choices and to help them adopt safety precautions. This is of course most notably an issue with sexually transmitted diseases but applies in other areas as well.
  • The symptoms of these diseases can mimic psychological disorders such as depression. As an example people may be referred for treatment of clinical depression when in fact they have Lyme disease [1].
  • The disease may have sequelae that psychologists may be asked to assesss. So for example syphillis may lead to neurosyphilis and general paresis which may require neurological assessment
  • The diseases may lead to conditions that psychologists may treat. So for example there is some evidence that baterial infections can lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • The disease may have a chronic course and psychologists may be involved in helping people to adjust to having a chronic illness or to manage its effects.

The disorders include:

Stress and the immune system[]

The bodies response to bacterial infections is mediated by the immune system whose effectiveness may be be affected by various stress factors

See also[]


  1. Marzillier, S.l (2009). Why psychologists need to know about Lyme disease, Clinical Psychology Forum, 194, 37-40

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