From Psychiatric News March 16, 2007, Volume 42, Number 6, page 18:
http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/42/6/18

OCD Patients May Seek Help From Dermatologists
A substantial percentage of patients who show up in dermatologists’ offices have skin conditions that arise from obsessive-compulsive disorder, highlighting the need for dermatologists and psychiatrists to forge closer collaborations.
[...]
Some people who scratch and pick their skin excessively have delusions of infestation by parasites. Specimens brought to the dermatologist, Kestenbaum said, often prove to be lint from clothing or ordinary sloughed off skin cells.

Self-diagnosed Morgellons disease is a relatively new phenomenon in the dermatologist’s office, she said, fueled by media reports and the Internet. People who believe they have this disorder commonly report crawling, stinging, and biting sensations. Some claim that fibers emerge from intact skin (Psychiatric News, December 15, 2006).

While all symptoms demand a careful workup, Kestenbaum said, “patients with such complaints whom I have seen appeared to have a delusional parasitosis.”

Meanwhile, a multidisciplinary task force at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is developing an instrument to investigate the symptoms these patients present. “There is no credible evidence at present to implicate any pathogen in Morgellons disease,” CDC spokes-person Dan Rutz told Psychiatric News. Several different mechanisms may account for patients’ distress, he said.

Writing in the November 2006 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Philadelphia dermatologist/psychoanalyst Caroline Koblenzer, M.D., suggested that “Morgellons syndrome” may be a more apt name for this symptom complex than “Morgellons disease.”

So, it seems that the term “Morgellons” may in fact eventually enter the official medical lexicon, but meaning different things to doctors and patients. A “rapport enhancing term” for a complex of symptoms that includes a degree of mistaken belief in some parasite or pathogen.

It seems unlikely the CDC wil report before 2008. But in the meantime, the above article (read the whole article), is probably the most accurate reflection of the medical establishment’s position on “Morgellons”

  8 Responses to “OCD and Morgellons”

  1. It’s a fair article, considering they even add the Morgellons.org webpage link at the bottom of the article. People can read both pages and make their own decision. Too bad they didn’t link it to the NMO, as it would cut people’s work out for them.

    Much better than the psychology today article, which may have been one of the shoddiest pieces of print I have ever read.

  2. New article on “morgellons disease”, with a link to the latest from the CDC:

    http://www.kgw.com/health/stories/kgw_051007_special_news_morgellens.58019270.html

  3. It appears that you have to register, now, to get to the CDC interview. Maybe this will directly take you to it:

    http://www.kgw.com/health/stories/kgw_051007_special_morgellons_cdc.58088115.html

  4. Those links worked for me Smileykins. There’s also the reporter’s blog, which adds little.

    http://www.beloblog.com/KGW_Blogs/reporters/2007/05/nightmare_under_the_microscope.html

    Rutz’s interview was quite telling. For many of the individual people who have Morgellons, they will never accept the findings of the CDC. But for some it will hopefully allow them to be able to accept that there is no novel infectious disease making fibers come out of their skin, and and they need to treat both their physical and their mental problems.

  5. I’m very interested in the CDC’s involvement here, and I think it will be something interesting to be viewed with a little distance. Sure, people with Morgellons are suffering, but look at the CDC links I added to the right column here -> . Is it a good use of resources? we’ll have to see what comes out of it.

    It seems Morgellons is only twice as popular as Vexilollogy.

  6. Here’s another recent news story:

    http://www.wyff4.com/news/13274785/detail.html

    Deputies said the home Veal shared with her elderly mother was littered with human waste. Investigators say it made them sick to go inside. Veal’s cousin, Polly Poole, said Veal suffers from an illness called Morgellon’s Disease. [...] Poole said she believes Veal turned to illegal drugs, like crack cocaine, to deal with the pain.

    Very sad. The CDC will not be able to help cases like that.

  7. This is an unbelievably sad situation. Even morgies, themselves, know that some of them are worse than others, and they excuse it away as being a result of “morgellons disease” being more virulent in some, since it’s so multifaceted. They’ve sure had a lot of assistance in drawing their conclusions, too.

    I’d mentioned before, that, elsewhere, a person posting as “Ursula” stated this as fact:

    The fact that many of Dr Amin’s patients were actually previously misdiagnosed and admitted to psychiatric hospitals, (from where he transferred them to the care of his team), only goes to show the necessity of adequate, professional and individual assessment.

    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2006/07/new_story_on_morgellons_diseas.php

    Of course, Ursula is on the flip-side of what I personally feel about “morgellons disease”, and when I’d asked for her source, regarding what she’d said Dr. Amin had done, she only replied back with:

    Dr Omar Amin mentions the fact that many of his patients were (inappropriately) diagnosed with delusional parasitosis, and were consequently admitted to psychiatric care.

    As we all know, Orap (pimozide) is an excellent enough drug, but its efficacy is restricted to treating psychosis, (although it does additionally have anthelmintic properties).

    If one reads Dr Amin’s publications, (a plethora of which are freely available on his website), it can be seen that many infected or infested patients were indeed transferred from psychiatric care to the rather more appropriate province of parasitology.

    “Anthelmintic properties”? Okay. Anyway, over the years, I’ve read all of Dr. Amin’s on line literature, the same as I’ve read all that I can, concerning this entire topic. I’ve apparently overlooked what Ursula stated about his transferring psychiatric patients out of hospitals to the care of his team, or, perhaps, I failed reading between the lines. Am I curious? Yeah, you bet I am.

    It pisses me off when those who are vulnerable are exploited, and this “morgellons disease” thing is a grave situation for some patients and their families. For others, I’m sure it isn’t that big a deal, with it being as multifaceted as it is.

    This is an interesting read. (Lengthy, but interesting.)

    http://onlineethics.org/reseth/nbac/mpaper5.html

    “Morgellons” patients haven’t any understanding of what their doctors have told them. They fall for the “doctors” screwing around with their delicate states of ill health.

    Oh, I’d better hush. I get all worked up over all of this.

  8. It seems Dr. Rutz is the only person studying “Morgellons” who is taking a scientific method in his investigation. Unlike the NMO or MRF, who say “Morgellons is real” and do science backward to prove the conclusion, Rutz seems to be starting with a hypothesis and working forward.

    I appreciate his emphasis that people’s suffering is real, and that he didn’t make any claims about the results. I have regained some hope for the science profession.

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