In a recent article in The Atlantic, writer Rose Eveleth recounts her third bed bug infestation experience. Beyond the itching and the interrupted sleep, Rose goes deeper into the anxiety and stress that affects people long after the bugs are gone:
"I used to joke that I had bed bug PTSD. There's a certain kind of anxiety that the seemingly invisible biters incite. But in fact, it might not be a joke. Research is starting to show that bed bug infections (sic) can leave people with anxiety, depression, and paranoia. And that's normal. In fact, it would be weird for you not to be freaked out, says Stephanie Perron, a doctor and researcher at the University of Montreal. 'If you have bed bugs, and if you don't care, that's not a normal reaction. You should be worried. I would consider it a normal reaction to a stressor.' "
In the article, Rose reports on a few studies that have evaluated the stress and impact on mental health.