DOP is Delusions of Parasitosis (the irrational belief that one is infected with parasites). People who think they have a condition called “Morgellons” sooner or later get an diagnosis of DOP.

This has led to a tendency to equate Morgellons with DOP. I think this tendency is not helping, for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, not all Morgellons sufferers claim to have parasites. Many claim that it’s complication of Lyme disease, or other bacterial infection. Some claim a virus, some claim a depressed immune system for a variety of reasons, some quite outlandish (chemtrails, biowarfare, etc.)

The common elements of a “Morgellons” case are fairly simple:

1) Fibers found on the skin that are thought to be associated with their health problems.
2) Some Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms
3) A belief in misdiagnosis by their physician.

The fibers are generally real objects, although sometimes the patient reports fibers that jump in and out of the skin, and even fly around the room. However most “fibers” are real, and generally resolve to lint, hair or sebum excretions.

Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (MUPS) is nothing new to the medical world, and treatment of MUPS has always been a problem. One thing that complicates MUPS is when a patient becomes “difficult”, and begins to self-diagnose in an irrational manner. If the MUPS is suggested to have some somatic or psychological component, the the patient is often very resistant to any kind of psychotheraputic treatment, as they tend to vehemently reject any connection between their mental state or lifestyle and their physical ailments.

Which brings us back to DOP – if the tendency is there to equate Morgellons with DOP, then the patient is far more likely to enter into a diagnostic dialog in a highly distrustful and defensive state of mind. Their conviction in their own self-diagnosis will only become stronger as they mentally reject and retreat from the possibility of a somatic component, or any kind of delusion.

Thus, although it is tempting to equate Morgellons with DOP, it is both incorrect and potentially harmful. Diagnosis of DOP should be reserved for specific cases where an irrational belief in parasites is present. Other cases self-diagnosed as Morgellons would better be described as MUPS, as this is a more accurate description, and less polarizing for both patient and physician.

20 Responses to “The problem with DOP”

  1. The underlying issue is still (in both cases) mostly factitious. What should be made clearer is that people with factitious diseases do suffer. Nobody denies that they suffer horribly. The argument is over what they actually suffer from.

  2. That is so true. One woman on a morgie board said that her doctor had diagnosed her with Munchausen syndrome. Another one admitted, very openly, to having been diagnosed with psychosis.

    It’s very hard understanding the refusal to accept legitimate, and serious diagnoses like lupus, for example, and their saying that their doctors are wrong, and that it’s “morgellons”.

    It’s terribly perverse to see morgies say that they wished they had cancer, or AIDS, instead, and that either of those things is nothing compared to “morgellons”.

    It’s so strange, too, that it seems as though quite a few, of the female morgies, in particular, don’t understand their own bodily functions.

    But, none of them understand that their skin has a living layer of epidermis, that is shed on a regular basis, and that its integrity has been breached. Their epidermis is not being adequately shed, and the many layers upon layers of oils, and other preparations and homemade concoctions, that they keep on applying, is only serving to suffocate it more and prolong their misunderstandings.

    Some of them may have no more wrong with them that that, but they aren’t interested in those words, for thinking that they have a fake disease called “morgellons”. They refuse to even want to learn proper skin care, due to that, and get quite ugly talking over it.

    Now, if a doctor had time to waste, explaining things that they, no doubt, assume that all people know already…

    I feel that, maybe, there wouldn’t be so many DOP diagnoses in this group of people.

    But although they claim to be suffering so, and that they don’t want to have this “thing” that they “think” they have….

    oh, here’s fitty-cents. Gimme one of those cute little tinfoil hats, I fank I need one.

  3. Delusional People

    There may be a few “so-called” Morgellons sufferers that do not have delusions of parasites, but it’s obvious that most of them do. This belief is a form of psychosis, not backed up by reality. But in addition to the many that suffer from delusions of parasites, there are also many “Morgies” that suffer from paranoid delusions. These are unwarranted beliefs of a suspicious nature. In my opinion, most of them suffer from both.

    Given the nature of their problems, people with paranoid delusions are often very suspicious about receiving treatment. Often they don’t believe anything is wrong with them, mentally, and asking them to get some help via a doctor or a hospital usually only serves to bolster their paranoid delusions and make things worse.

    Many of them suffer from persecutory delusions, wrongly believing that they are being picked on, or threatened by someone or something else. This can be their doctor, the Centers for Disease Control, the CIA, or any other entity or group.

    They also suffer from induced psychosis. These people may be many miles apart, but through the internet they are very close and dependent on each other emotionally. As a result they share the same delusion. It seems obvious that most of these individuals would still be delusional even without the belief that they are infested with parasites. These people, for the most part seem to have lost touch with reality.
    Most of these people have real physical problems, but many of them are far less obvious than their mental disorders The cult leaders that prey on the suggestibility of their followers are the real parasites. They need to be exposed for what they are, yet they are usually sicker than those they deceive.

    It’s sad but the “Morgies” have more than delusions of parasites. They are delusional people. It’s in their natures. Some of the members of these groups can still be helped by things such as Antipsychotic Medication, and possibly psychotherapies such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but it isn’t likely to happen unless they want to get well.

    Tall Cotton

  4. For some, it may be the general pattern of neurochemically aggravated psychosis, but I think at least some of the problem with somatization lies in being unable to ask for what you want in the way of nurturing.

    It’s easier to believe you have this horrible disease that you need yearsandyearsandyears of long, involved, and expensive treatment for, than to ask for some “me” time on a regular basis without thinking of yourself as bad and selfish. Morgellons means you get “me” time and nurturing without any guilt.

    The real issue is, why should you feel guilty for wanting what usually is a normal and healthy amount of “me” time and nurturing from others?

  5. Sure, a lot are delusional – just look at this thread on what happens when you get your hair blown about in a car. But my general point is that Morgellons does not always equate with DOP. DOP is a symptom of a subset of those who self-diagnose with Morgellons.

    With the current blog storm, it’s very likely that people with simple eczema, etc, will see a story on Morgellons, then find a fiber on their skin, and conclude they have this “new disease”. They are not really delusional, just a bit hypochondriac.

  6. It’s sad, and interesting, to bear witness to all types of the various behaviors inside the walls of their inner sanctum, and to see that what holds them together is the thing that they claim to be destroying them.

    (Which it is)

    Yet, the fairy tale book ending that they’re all going to live happily ever after, brainwashing themselves, and anyone who signs onto their “beliefs”, into accepting that their “leaders” are doing something of value to benefit them, appears to be the only bright spot in some of their lives, somehow. They don’t even CARE to know the facts of the matter behind their “leaders”.

    One knows that some of them aren’t as badly affected by this, physically, as they claim to be, to still be able to go out into society and earn a living. It’s so easy, also, to lose sight of the fact that it’s pointless to try conversing with the largest portion of them.

    I think they require deprogramming more than anything, as a first step, and that surely will never happen.

    In the meantime, “morgellons disease” probably will, someday, be put on the books as a new mental health syndrome, because it IS something we otherwise wouldn’t be witnessing if Mary Leitao hadn’t created it.

    She’s getting plenty out of it, as twisted as it is, one way, or another. Ginger & Dr. Harvey might very well keep prescribing unnecessary antibiotics, until they create a super-resistant pathogen, to come up with what they want.

    Mary’s blind followers are just what she ordered, no matter which way you slice it.

  7. Interesting testimonial from someone who was eventually able to come to terms with her illness on NUSPA’s message board:

  8. Care to C&P, Infinitywaltz?? I try the link and it says topic doesn’t exist.

  9. Ah. That works. Well, thank goodness, and gods bless the lady. Looks like she is doing well.

  10. That is wonderful, and thank you so much for sharing that here, infinitywaltz!

    Look at how sad this one is, rather than looking to see that her cat(s), have fleas, or allergies, and that they need to be treated, or taken to the veterinarian.

    Child and animal neglect crimes are the worst symptoms this illness creates, and the world is privy to it on their message boards. They let their pets die of neglect to reinforce their beliefs. God knows they can’t help it, but I hope this one won’t, like so many others I’ve read.

  11. This was not my idea, which I think is an excellent one, but I’ve been given permission to state it…

    They need to rename DOP “Morgellons Disease”, and people would take the meds.

  12. Check this out — its a real, verifiable illness with the same symptoms as Morgellons and the patients, in most cases, were diagnosed with DOP. maybe this is what all the morgies actually have.

  13. NCS is neither real, nor verifiable.

  14. Let me ask you something smileykins.

    Did you go to a therapist for your “previous condition”?

    Were you prescibed physcotropric drugs?

    Two simple questions for ya.

  15. Maybe God didn’t mean for it to.

  16. If Anonymous is still around, I’m sorry, I missed this…

    # Anonymous Says:
    May 29th, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    Let me ask you something smileykins.

    Did you go to a therapist for your “previous condition”?

    Were you prescibed physcotropric drugs?

    Two simple questions for ya.

    And here’s two simple answers: No and No

    (but if I’d seen a doctor and been told to I would have)

  17. ok i accept it
    I got DOP




  18. Dealing with a Misdiagnosis

    Patients being misdiagnosed with delusions of parasitosis actually found living with chronic infections

    By Rose Rash
    October 15, 2007

    MINNESOTA (Essential Wellness) — Whether it is caused from contaminated water, tainted food or other sources is a mystery, but patients misdiagnosed with Delusions of Parasitosis, otherwise known as D.O.P., are being systematically ignored around the U.S. and referred to psychiatrists for psychological evaluations.

    “Delusory parasitosis…is a presumed psychiatric condition ascribed to individuals who are convinced, in the absence of any empirical evidence, that they are infected with an insect or parasite,” write Deborah Z. Altschuler, from the National Pediculosis Association (NPA), in Needham, Massachusetts, and colleagues. “The symptoms are debilitating and the sufferer’s distress is compounded by the lack of a concrete physical diagnosis.”(1)

    These bacterial and fungal infections are erupting from exposure to environmental toxins in our tainted water, food and soil and exacerbated by poor nutrition and a weakened immune system. Symptoms of these baffling infections include flu-like fevers, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, inflammation of the eyes, skin rashes, hives and abdominal pain. Patients need to be validated not dismissed.

    Richard Swanson has been suffering with a chronic illness since he was 15 years old and has yet to receive a firm diagnosis. He was once treated for Molluscum Contagiosum Virus at the University of Minnesota where the practicing physicians burned off his skin rash on his arm and sent him home with a corticosteroid cream. Years later the rash erupted and remains untreatable.

    Mr. Swanson – at age 42 – has lost any hope in holding down full-time employment and has to resort to being dependent on state and federal programs for assistance. At this point, doctors refuse to even do the simplest tests, i.e., skin or liver biopsies to verify his illness. It is a chronic infection that will not subside and continues to cause him constant irritation and pain, making life unbearable.

    As far back as 2000, American Oceans Campaign recognized that “various kinds of pathogens or disease-causing microorganisms can be found in water, such as viruses, bacteria, amoeba and protozoa. These illnesses, such as ocean lice, rarely threaten human life however they can lead to discomfort and can be contagious.”

    Dr. Sydney Walker, in his book “A Dose of Sanity”, affirms the fact that hundreds of his patients had been misdiagnosed with psychiatric labels, when in fact their symptoms were caused by tumors, infections, toxins and other physical problems.

    “People who do not have a chronic illness will never understand with it’s like to live with a chronic illness,” reflects author Lisa Copen in her book “Why Can’t I Make People Understand?” She deals on a daily basis with the fallout of patients lost in the maze of the health care system, while running Rest Ministries. Share, Care and Prayer, Inc. is another ministry that serves persons with environmental illness. Many of these people have been diagnosed with Lyme’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, systemic candidiasis, fibromyalgia and chemical sensitivity.

    Efforts are currently underway at the CDC to study several different emerging infectious diseases, although it may be some time before any real answers are reported to the public at large. In the meantime, Hands-On Healer, Amandha Vollmer, suggest maintaining a healthy immune system through several healing methods: supplementing with vitamin C, zinc, anti-oxidants and probiotics, decreasing meat consumption, eating organic foods, meditation, massage and consuming lots of spring water.”(2)


    1. “Collembola Implicated in Delusory Parasitosis”, Laurie Barclay, M.D., J New York Entomol Soc. 2004; 112:87-95
    2. “Focus on Terrain, Then Health Shall Ye Maintain”, Amandha Vollmer, On Edge, Vol. 2, 2006

    Source: Essential Wellness

  19. Rose, are you able to learn what delusional parasitosis is, and can you list some of the things that cause it to develop? Thank you.

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