Robert C. Bransfield

Red Bank, NJ

Biography

Dr. Robert C. Bransfield is a graduate of Rutgers College and the George Washington University School of Medicine. He completed his psychiatric residency training at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, is certified in Clinical Psychopharmacology by the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Bransfield has held teaching appointments at Hahnemann Medical College and Eastern Virginia Medical School. He has taught in many settings to physicians, mental health professionals and the public. He has performed research, and has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, a unified theory of mental health and illness, the link between microbes and mental illness, Lyme and other tick-borne disease, violence, and the link between microbes and violence.

Dr Bransfield has been active in political advocacy on a national, state and local level. He has appeared on network and regional television, radio and various publications. He has authored and co-authored a number of publications in peer-reviewed literature, other medical publications and books. He has held a number of administrative positions for various organizations involved with a number of health, mental health and community related activities.

Dr. Bransfield maintains a private practice of psychiatry in Red Bank, NJ. Additionally, he is the Associate Director of Psychiatry and Chairman of Psychiatric Quality Assurance at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, NJ. As Immediate Past President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) and Immediate President of the New Jersey Psychiatric Association, Dr. Bransfield is a strong advocate for Mental Health, Lyme Disease and Morgellons Disease.

Abstract

Suicide and Morgellons Diseases

Although morbidity and disability with Morgellons disease have been described by many, mortality has never been methodically studied. Suicides of Morgellons patients have occurred and both suicide and accidental overdoses may cause considerable mortality. Suicidal risk is recognized with Lyme disease, which is frequently seen in association with Morgellons disease. Suicide is the result of an interaction of multiple known and unknown contributors, acute triggers and failed deterrents. The multiple contributors that collectively can increase suicidal risk seen in Morgellons patients include an immune provoked pathophysiology; visibly apparent and potentially stigmatizing symptoms; fear the illness can be contagious; guilt and fears of being a burden and frequently a lack of understanding and negative views of the condition on the part of the patient, family, friends, physicians and others in the healthcare system.
Multiple studies link many infections, proinflammatory cytokines, tryptophan metabolism, quinolinic acid and glutamate mediated physiology with increased risk of suicide. In addition, Morgellons patients may acquire a number of neuropsychiatric symptoms that collective can increase suicidal risk. These symptoms can include cognitive impairments, fatigue, sleep disorders, depression, anhedonia, low frustration tolerance, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, hypervigilance, panic attacks, depersonalization, paranoia, intrusive symptoms, mood swings, explosive anger, chronic pain, formication and substance abuse.
Delays in diagnosis and treatment lead to disease progression and further increase the risk of morbidity and suicidal. In contrast, earlier diagnosis, combined treatment with antibiotics and psychotropics, other treatments to reduce symptoms, a better understanding of the disease process, a better understanding of the pathophysiology of suicidality in Morgellons disease, screening for suicidal risk, reduction of stigma and better research in this area can decrease the risk of morbidity and suicide.
Suicide is a permanent response to a temporary problem. Many survive suicidality to go on and lead productive and gratifying lives. Suffering from this disease can be reduced. The joy of life can be restored. Needless death can be prevented. Patients should not give up hope. There are answers, solutions, and assistance. There is life after Morgellons.