Exhausted young woman on sofa at home

The Mental Anguish from Bed Bugs

How long will it take to get a good night’s sleep?

Everyone has spoken of physical remediants of having bed bugs. The linear red welts that suddenly show up after days or weeks of itching and the tickling feeling you get when you are at the point of shutting your eyes are only some of the symptoms of a bed bug infestation. If you were lucky, you didn’t suffer any physical discomfort or have any signs of bites at all as bed bug bites do not present themselves the same for each person. Even though the physical agitation of bed bugs is not to be dismissed, the mental exhaustion and stress that bed bugs can cause often exceeds the physical. 

Invasion of Personal Space

Often people view their bedrooms and beds as their one true personal and intimate space, where you can rest and sleep away the thoughts and actions of the day. In your vulnerability, bed bugs come out for 10-15 minutes to feed on exposed skin, then return to their hiding place for 5-10 days. Although they can remain unfed for an extended period of time, if there is a host available, they can feed and lay eggs more often, thus increasing the population dramatically. 

The feeling of the bed bugs crawling on you or your children is enough to incite fear and distress which can prevent sleep, which will eventually lead to exhaustion. Dr. Katherine Maloy MD, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health in New York City, claims there are two types of fear of bed bugs that people typically fall into: 

Real Fear

This is a fear in which you are actively dealing with a bed bug infestation and facing real physical and mental anguish.

Perceived Fear

Perceived fear is when people are afraid that they have a bed bug infestation, but it is not certain or confirmed. This could be considered a version of paranoia. This often stems from mistaking another pest for a bed bug and becoming obsessed with the idea. In turn, this can lead to people clearing out their homes, damaging their property, or moving to avoid them even though it was not confirmed in the first place. 

Mental Anguishes 

Although everyone deals with this situation differently, there have been studies and consistencies amongst mental anguishes that come from dealing with bed bugs, such as: 

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Flashbacks
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Intensifying other mental health issues 

A study in 2012 found that dealing with bed bugs and the psychological effects associated map to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, although more evidence is needed to make any conclusions.

Steps Toward Mental Recovery

If you are struggling with a bed bug infestation and it is threatening your mental health, take some appropriate steps toward recovering:

Confirm the Presence of an Infestation

Perceived fear could stem from not knowing whether or not you have a bed bug infestation. Placing a bed bug detection tool like the Nightwatch, can confirm the presence of bed bugs. This will either press you to move forward with a bed bug extermination process or give you relief knowing that there are no bed bugs present. 

Treating the Bed Bug Issue

No one deserves to live with bed bugs. Bugs feeding on you in the middle of the night and surrounding your belongings is no way to live. Be proactive and hire a bed bug exterminator to rid of the bed bug infestation. There is an understanding that this treatment process can be expensive and there are several assistance programs that do exist to help those in need, but it may be worth being able to get a good night’s sleep. 

Understanding That Anybody Can Get Bed Bugs

It is important to note that anyone can get bed bugs and is not a reflection of you, your personal habits, or daily hygiene. Bed bugs can be picked up from a variety of places and it is a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Seek Professional Help

If dealing or having dealt with bed bugs is inhibiting and interfering with your daily life it may be time to seek professional help. Having dealt with these pests should not be affecting your happiness, ability to work, your relationships and if you find that it is, you will want to consider speaking to a professional. 


If you are dealing with bed bugs and it is affecting your life mentally and physically, call Bed Bug BBQ today: (216) 221- 1227 or contact us through our website. 

Also view our other bed bug informational resources that give you information on identification, prevention, and bed bug extermination processes. 

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