While experts argue about the causes of and best treatments for particular diseases, when it comes to Morgellons Disease they even argue about whether the condition really exists. Medical studies have failed to prove its existence to the skeptics, but neither have they proved it an imaginary condition. The British health authorities consider it a type of psychosis rather than a physical illness. Others argue that the disease definitely has physical manifestations. They point to the well-publicized collapse of the famous entertainer, Joni Mitchel serves as concrete proof that you cannot dismiss Morgellons Disease so easily.
What is the most characteristic symptom?
The feeling that you have tiny mites or insects crawling under the skin and biting you is the best-known symptom, and one of the most controversial. If such insects exist, the doctor should easily detect their presence in an examination of the patient. The fact that we know lice and ticks feed off human bodies gives credibility to the idea that some bugs might have got into the patient’s body. Yet if the doctor fails to find solid evidence of bugs, he or she understandably starts to suspect some mental issue.
How does it affect the skin?
Many of the people with this condition complain that their skin is so itchy and it gives them pain. They also see sores or broken skin appear, and very thin segments of the skin or fiber-like substances come out of these breaks in the skin. Sometimes they describe how white granules separate from their skin. Unless doctors have physical samples to send for laboratory analysis, it comes down to a question of whether you accept the patient’s account at face value, or reject it for lack of solid evidence. Many doctors believe the fibers really come from the patient’s clothing rather than their skin.
How does it make people excessively anxious?
Whether or not you believe this is a genuine physical condition or mental illness, it is impossible to deny that these individuals become extremely anxious about their health. They are desperate to eradicate the bugs they believe to be living under their skin. They might even put bleach or some other dangerous substance on their skin in futile attempt to kill the parasites, but all they end up doing is damaging their skin. This is another reason why doctors need to take this issue seriously so they can guide the patient away from such harmful measures.
How does it affect energy levels?
Fatigue is another of the common symptoms patients report, and it reaches a point where it seriously impedes their normal functioning. On one level, this fatigue might easily connect with their anxious state of mind. They literally wear themselves out in a search for a cure to this mysterious health problem. However, there are numerous other possible causes of fatigue. It could connect with job pressures or family issues, or the fatigue might be a symptom of some better-known medical issue.
Can it lead to behavioral problems?
You find that people who believe they have this condition often start to show some obsessive behavior patterns. The exact form this takes depends on the individual, but it usually involves some action they imagine will rid them of this health problem. For example, they might repeatedly scratch their arms, or put some kind of cleaning fluid on the areas they think are affected. When this starts to interfere with the ordinary conduct of their lives and close family, they need assistance from a mental health professional.
What kind of treatments do experts suggest?
As you might expect, advice on treatments varies in line with the advisor’s belief in the reality of Morgellons Disease. Those convinced that this is a genuine physical problem suggest various lotions and skin-cleansing agents to destroy the bugs or mites under the skin. Some doctor might prescribe a course of antibiotics or even one of the medicines designed to treat scabies. Some of the advice available from self-declared “experts” suggests the use of dangerous substances on the skin, so people need to beware, and ideally consult with their doctor before trying to treat themselves.
Which group is it most likely to affect?
Studies on both sides of the reach the same curious conclusion that this illness is more likely to affect middle-aged, white women than other groups. There is also some evidence of a link between drug abuse and smoking. It appears as though an underactive thyroid gland could also be a factor but since these findings come from small samples, it is possible to question their accuracy. The “mystery” aspect of the illness remains paramount in the absence of additional and more extensive research.
Are mental health professionals involved in treatment?
Many conventional doctors might be dismissive when a patient comes and claims they have a disease that does not appear in their International Classification of Diseases. The most severe doctors might dismiss the patient for wasting their time. While others refer him or her to the mental health services. They might prescribe antipsychotic drugs to remove what they consider as illusions produced by this patient’s mental state. They also often prescribe anti-depressants in these situations.
Could there be a link to tick-borne diseases?
Given the feeling of mites getting under the skin, it seems reasonable to look for a connection with such well-documented tick-borne diseases as Lyme disease. A study made on a very small patient sample in the lends support to the hypothesis. But other researchers claim they have proved beyond doubt that Morgellons Disease is not a parasite or fungal infection. Advocates and opponents of this diagnosis agree on the need for further studies to clarify the disease’s causes.
Is the disease infectious?
Despite the disagreements over the nature of this disease, nobody claims that regular contact with an infected individual is infectious. Some analysts argue a bacteria spread it and so it could be communicated from mother to baby. Nobody knows for sure if someone could catch if from sleeping with an infected individual.