Online Poll: Mental Health Symptoms of Mold Exposed


Mental Health Symptom Survey results & poll conducted by Mental Health Professional and mold survivor Jen Higginbotham.

In earlier group polling we found mental health symptoms at the very top of the poll for mold exposed individuals. It does not come as a shock to me as my own son Jared took his life at the tender age of 17 after experiencing major personality changes following our exposure. The research is in toxic mold affects the brain, in fact it has been proven in a federal court in Virginia this year that toxic mold exposure causes brain injury. At the end of this poll please see some references to some research involving toxic mold and its affect on the brain.

Total Participants: 131

Section 1: Questions related to suicidal ideation

Anxiety  (97) – 74%

Social Withdrawal (96)  73%

Feeling Disconnected (95) 73%

Depression (92) 70%

Mood Swings (90) 69%

Inability to cope with daily activities or problems (88) 67%

Felt Like Giving Up (87) 66%

Anger Outbursts (82) 63%

Apathy – loss of interest (79) 60%

Felt Like a Burden to Others (72) 55%

Felt Hopeless (75) 57%

Isolation (63) 48%

Felt Trapped or in Unbearable Pain (56) 43%

Suicidal Thoughts (53) 40%

Talked About or Thought About Wanting to Die (52) 40%

Wanted Out Just to End Suffering (49) 37%

Section 2: Additional Survey Questions Related to MH stress/symptoms

Problems Thinking (108) 82%

Drop in Functioning (92) 70%

Panic Attacks (73) 56%

Exaggerated Startle Response (70) 53%

Intense Fear (64) 49%

Believing You Are Damaged, Broken or Crazy

Because No One Believes You (48) 37%

PTSD (40) 31%

Persistent Nightmares (38) 29%

Straight Up PISSY (29) 22%

Trauma From Family Abandonment (21) 16%


****Some research on Mold and its effects on the brain

Court Ruling FEDERAL COURT, mold caused Brain Injury

“April 2016:  NeuroQuant® and NeuroGage™ admitted as evidence in court

On April 4, 2016, NeuroQuant® and NeuroGage™ were admitted as evidence by Judge Raymond A. Jackson in a Federal court case in Norfolk, VA (Federico, et al. v. Lincoln Military Housing, LLD, et al.) despite the objections of defense counsel.  This was the first time these brain volume measurement tools were admitted in Federal court.  David E. Ross, M.D., neuropsychiatrist, testified on the neuropsychiatric aspects of mold-related illness which had affected the Federicos, including the NeuroQuant® and NeuroGage™ MRI brain volume measurements.  The results showed a combined pattern of brain enlargement/atrophy similar to that found in two pioneering studies published by Ritchie Shoemaker, M.D. and colleagues.  The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs.

Dr. Shoemaker has hypothesized that the brain enlargement/atrophy is caused by chronic neuroinflammation. This idea is supported by his finding that clinical treatment leads to normalization of brain volume.

In court, positive rulings are important because they set a positive precedent, which means that judges in future cases will be more likely to admit these types of results than if there had been previous negative rulings. Also, setting a positive precedent in Federal court is particularly helpful because state courts tend to follow the lead of the Federal court.”

Evidence/ Research Mold Passes Blood Brain Barrier

“The mold fungus Penicillium crustosum occurs relatively frequently in food and animal fodder stored in temperate conditions. This mold produces powerful neurotoxins, for example penitrem A, which causes symptoms that are difficult to distinguish from those of other neurological diseases. Penitrem A is capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier and new research has unveiled the mechanisms behind the neurological effects of the toxin.”

“One of the reasons mycotoxins are so toxic is they can cross directly into your brain. According to Dr. Thrasher, your olfactory neurons are in direct communication with your brain—there is no barrier. Anything you have inhaled or smelled, even if it doesn’t have an odor, can go directly into your brain via these olfactory neurons. Mycotoxins have even been found to enter your brain via optic muscles and optic nerves. This lack of a blood-brain barrier has been confirmed in scientific studies.5

Studies/Research/Findings on Mold and the Brain

“Harding and colleagues also found that the behaviors linked to increased inflammatory proteins in the hippocampus. Exposure to mold’s toxins and structural proteins may trigger an immune response in the brain. The findings, Harding says, may help explain some of the conditions that people living in moldy buildings complain about, such as anxiety and cognitive problems.”

“In what’s being hailed as a first, a public health study led by Brown University finds a link between regular old household mold and depression.

The study included data from the World Health Organization of nearly 6,000 people in Europe.

Some of the science is intuitive – sure, if you have a moldy home, you’re likely to feel out of control – and perceptions of control are linked to depression.

“The TOVA test provides an objective measure of these two variables. It was found that mold-exposed subjects show statistically significant decreases in attention span and significant increases in reaction time to stimuli compared to controls. After ten sessions of hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT), a statistically significant improvement was seen in both measures. This preliminary study suggests promising outcomes in treating mold-exposed patients with hyperbaric oxygen.”

“In a 2003 research by the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, 100 individuals were checked out in an effects of mold on the brain initiative to reveal exactly how hazardous mold direct exposure could lead and also impact the brain to psychological as well as intellectual problems. Brain SPECT scans likewise recognized problems in a substantial part of the individuals examined”

“Fungal (mold) infections to the brain were once relatively rare. Now they are becoming increasingly more common for many reasons including: 1) increases in the number of HIV/ AIDS patients, 2) increases in the number of patients with certain cancers like leukemia or lymphoma, 3) increases in patients on immunosuppressive therapy for organ or bone marrow transplants, and 4) increased numbers of patients on long term antibiotic therapy which can encourage mold overgrowth. The most common fungi to cause brain infections include filament-forming fungi like Aspergillus, Mucor and Rhizopus and yeast-type fungi such as Candida and Cryptococcus. Less common causes of fungal brain infections include Trichosporon, Blastomyces, Histoplasma, Coccidioides, Paracoccidioides and Penicillium marneffei.

The most common form of fungal brain infections are meningitis, although these infections cause also present as localized brain infections called abscesses.”

“As a result of this experience, Dr Bennett decided to investigate the connection between moulds and the symptoms she had experienced.

She and Dr Inamdar discovered that the volatile organic compound 1-octen-3-ol, otherwise known as mushroom alcohol, can cause movement disorders in fruit flies.”

“Psychologist Cheryl Harding and a team from the City University of New York conducted experiments, investigating if mold affects the brain. They used a mouse model and intranasal delivery of mold spores three times a week. Turns out, the mice exposed to mold were more anxious than normal mice and also had trouble remembering a location that previously induced a fear response.”

“Researchers claim that older buildings where hauntings are usually reported, often have poor air quality from pollutants like toxic mould, which can affect our brains.

Exposure to the mould can cause mood swings, irrational anger and cognitive impairment.”

“Our data suggest that respiratory exposure to any mold, not just the particularly toxic ones like Stachybotrys, may be capable of causing brain inflammation, cognitive deficits, and emotional problems.”

“As a neuroscientist, I am particularly intrigued by the effects of mold exposure on neural function and cognition.  Recent research has documented that people who lived or worked in moldy buildings had multiple cognitive problems.”

Dr Janette Hope, 2013

Some of the most distressing symptoms encountered by patients following exposure to water-damaged indoor environments and toxigenic molds include neurocognitive disturbances. A disturbing study, conducted in Poland, measured IQ scores in children exposed to indoor mold for greater than two years, showed statistically significant IQ deficits in children exposed to indoor mold [79]. This study controlled for multiple variables and involved testing of 277 term babies at age 6 years using the WISC-R scale of intelligence and tests of neuropsychological function. Children exposed to indoor molds showed a statistically significant deficit of approximately 10 points. Additionally, it was shown in this study that longer exposure to indoor molds tripled the risk for low IQ scores defined as values below the 25th percentile.

“I got more interested in mold and began to read Dr. Shoemaker’s work to learn about biotoxin illness. After learning how to do these strange labs, I found that a high percentage of my integrative psychiatric patients had some degree of biotoxin illness.  They had haplotypes that meant they were susceptible to becoming ill after mold exposure and/or elevated cytokine levels.”


29 thoughts on “Online Poll: Mental Health Symptoms of Mold Exposed”

  1. Great article! Has anyone experienced OCD as a result of mold exposure?
    I would appreciate any information.

    1. Susan, yes, definitely. In face just today on one of the groups someone was mentioning becoming OCD as one of the signs of being exposed.

    2. Susan, yes, definitely. In fact, just today on one of the groups someone was mentioning becoming OCD as one of the signs of being exposed.

    3. Severe OCD, ADHD, anxiety, depression. Was just on the phone today with a friend who was saying her OCD is out of control.. So you are not alone

      1. Thank you Kelli and Taylor for the information about OCD. We are in the process
        of trying to find a “clean environment.” Does anyone have information about
        what to leave behind? I don’t want to take mold spores to our new environment. I know Dr. Dennis ENT makes a product to get rid of mold
        on clothes, but I have not sure if you can get mold out of wood furniture etc.

  2. Omg this explains a lot. I’m fighting hard and it seems to be winning. Very hard for me to write, they don’t know I had a brain bleed in the cerebral. Just not well, fibro, etc. etc..

    1. I know the Neuroquant is a great test for mold illness and injury. Sorry Judy, please keep fighting.. Don’t give in.. We are in this together..

  3. I would love to help in any testing etc. 6 years exposure to stachybotrys, different types of penicillium. I have brain lesion found after I had a seizure.

    1. Did you run your MRI through Neuroquant. This helps determine Mold as cause of illness and brain injury. My son and I have brain injury it showed on the Neuroquant.

  4. Currently under treatment by Dr Mary Ackerley.i love this article. I wish I could get my family and friends (I think of all of them as “prior life people”cause the sure are not here with me in my present life) to read this report..reads just like my life story

    1. I just spoke with Shoemaker today who went over our Neuroquant, and he referred me to Ackerly, she is pretty booked, can’t get a phone consult till December.. But she is very knowledgeable.. Glad she is your dr!

  5. I have everything listed in the poll. I lived in toxic mold for 7 years, my cats died, I’ve been out for 3 years and I’m still sick and can barely function. I wish every day that I go to sleep and never wake up again. Summer is the worst for me and my whole body hurts so bad. My first symptom was severe anxiety and I thought something paranormal was going on because I would be ok if I wasn’t in my apartment. Then I started having bronchial spasms at the gym when I was working out. This made no sense to me because I was working out almost every day and was very fit. I can barely walk a block now! I’ve been through all the protocols to try and heal and I’m still so sick. People say I’m just lazy and depressed and I need to snap out of it. I know my personality has changed, I know my brain is damaged. I want to get better or I just don’t want to live anymore. I can’t stand being like this! And I’m angry beyond because my landlord knew about all the water damage my apartment suffered and did nothing. I had to pay for testing, I missed so much work, I had to pay for all my medical bills going to Drs that knew nothing about mold, didn’t believe me and wouldn’t help me. I had to throw away thousands of dollars worth of clothes and furniture and art work, my cats died and NO one is responsible! My life is horrible, I can barely work but I have to and no one is held responsible for this! To me it’s negligent and should be punishable! When I showed my findings to my property management and they realized what a problem they had on their hands all they did was say I had to move. I tried to get a lawyer to help me but unless my Dr. would say that what was going on with me was directly a result of mold then he wouldn’t take it to court and she wouldn’t say it. It’s very lonely living like this and it’s very hard when no one can help and no one believes you. I’m glad it’s starting to get talked about because maybe it can save someone because I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

    1. Patricia, I’m so sorry that you had to go through all that. If you were tested, and the tests were the right ones, what the tests show should really speak for themselves. Very similar stories with mold that I’ve heard about doctors not wanting to work with patients. Can you elaborate a little on that without going into too much detail?

    2. Patricia, what an overwhelming struggle this illness leads to. I am sorry to hear of your experience. I hope you will get yourself to one of the docs who does know how to help with mold illness. Where do you live? By the way, this excellent article might shake things up for the docs who haven’t known how to help you.

    3. I just read your story -My life was changed like yours -Your story has given hope to fight on and not make the love ones around me to suffer because I am having another bad day. I love You for your help .

      1. I have some of the same feeling you have. The last three years have been so hard for me and my wife! When I can not get enough air I go and lay down half of my life is in bed or on the sofa. After a bad day or two I get back up and try life again never able to get caught up on keeping the house up, paying bills , working out to keep my weight down. My wife has had to go about her life as if I may or may not be able to do anything. At times I just want to put the covers over my head and not wake up. Jaime I want you to know I love you and you have many other people who need you to keep telling your story . Our fight for life will be the light of life for all the other people who suffer like us. Love Tom

      2. We are not alone and that is what I am trying to show, there is alot of guilt associated with the mental health aspect of this illness.. Flying off the handle, inability to handle stress. Its so hard to understand, which is why sharing our experience is so important.. Thank you, we are in this together..

    4. Patricia I am so sorry, and I empathize with you.. What happened to you and so many others is terribly unfair. If there is anything I would like to see change its this.. It’s the loss, the incredible loss that is experienced on so many levels. Health, loss of belongings, no support, no one who “get’s it.” I want this to change.. It will, it has to. People should not have to experience this pain. I remember being at my worst points of my illness, I remember thinking I don’t want to get out of bed… I remember thinking I can not do another day of this. The agony is very very real… I know it all too well, and it breaks my heart….I fight for you…Your story and the many others like your’s keeps me fighting..

  6. Thank you guys for reading! I want to say that I almost had my MA in Mental Health when mold destroyed our lives. However we were barely taught about the environment in this program. I think the research that is out there is very compelling. The brain inflammation from toxic exposure is real. I think it would be important to have the professionals who treat us to ask the question how is your environment. Its a simple question and can yield so much information.

  7. No one on this site has a success story about getting well, everyone is sick or dying… what’s up with that somebody has had to get well RIGHT?????

    1. Mark, not quite sure your aim in regards to Joseph, but I hope will stop.. In terms of people not getting better, I think what is very important to understand is that those of us with the “dreaded gene” are in this for the long haul. We can not filter out toxins, poisons. Both of my Dr’s were poisoned, the time frame for them regaining their health was ten years.. I am not even on year 2 yet.. Its slow, its painful. I just hope we can be encouraged that we are in this together.. Yes there is no magic pill to make this go away, I wish there was..

  8. Rachel
    I just read your comment on the dreaded gene. I have searched every where to find out if my gene is the dreaded or not and what exactly this means practically. Is there comments already that will explain? Thanks so much

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *