Morgellons Disease is a very controversial condition that has yet to be formally recognized by any medical body as a legitimate disease. It was first brought to light in the early 2000’s, though some claim historical record of similar symptoms. These include a description of a medical condition in Sir Thomas Browne’s 1656 publication “A Letter to a Friend”, from which the name “Morgellons Disease” was established.
The main symptoms of the disease are the sensation of something crawling just below the surface of the skin, the appearance of skin rashes or sores with intense itching, and the unexplained protruding of various fibers from these sores. Other symptoms can include severe fatigue, difficulty concentrating and short term memory loss. Individuals with this condition may develop a ritual of picking or poking at the sores to remove the fibers, which can exacerbate the sores, preventing them from healing properly.
What causes Morgellons Disease?
Because so little is known about this condition, it is not possible to determine an exact cause. Most doctors tend to consider it as not being a disease at all, but rather a type of psychological delusion. It is related to a specific type of mental illness called “delusional parasitosis”. This condition involves an irrational belief that your body is infected with parasites. Potential links to both Lyme Disease and underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, have also been suggested but no proof of a connection was ever found.
Examination of Morgellons patients, including clinical examination of the fibers produced from their skin, has not resulted in any scientific proof of an actual disease. The fibers were all identified as common cotton, such as those that would come from bandages or clothing. The other symptoms can all be linked to psychological disturbance, which can often result in the psychosomatic appearance of physical conditions like rash.
For some reason that is also undetermined, Morgellons seems to primarily affect middle aged white women, though there have been cases in adults of other ages as well as children. Though cases have been documented worldwide, there was a cluster of cases in California that prompted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to investigate, again without any solid results.
Are there any treatments available?
Because there is no medical cause for this condition, there is no specific treatment, though some patients have gotten relief from the sores using topical ointments. In most cases, doctors recommend the use of antipsychotic drugs to alleviate the psychotropic symptoms. Various drugs, including olanzapine and risperidone, have been used successfully.
A variety of self-help measures have been suggested on websites related to the condition, but none of these are proven and some could be dangerous, so they are not medically recommended. The best suggestion for anyone who believes that they are suffering from Morgellons is to seek the help of a doctor or psychiatrist. A professional can definitely offer help or at the very least point you in the right direction.