Mar 102008

In Friday’s post I responded to a comment by “Anonymous” (Anonymous deleted the comment) with another comment questioning her knowledge of Lyme pathology. Following is part of her response (Anonymous deleted the full comment):

I know enough about Lyme. I have a close friend who claims to have “Chronic Lyme” but who I actually believe is probably suffering from either Munchausen Syndrome or hypochondria. The “dissenting research” to which you made reference has all been published by so-called “LLMDs”—the same people who stick patients on unending IV antibiotic regimens (in some cases killing them, after which, at autopsy, no sign whatsoever of Lyme Disease or coinfections is found) or prescribe quack treatments ranging from “magical lasers” (LMAO) to fad diets to herbs which, when scientifically tested, were shown to have no effect on people.

I don’t know Anonymous’ close friend so I certainly can’t speak to that specific situation. Either way I thought there are some things that can be discussed about this comment. On a side note Munchausen Syndrome and hypochondria are very different mental disorders that present very differently. Anonymous should consider looking over the DSM IV on those two issues; I’m sure the school library has a copy.

First, since Lyme was the point of comment, Lyme can be diagnosed clinically. Proceeding with antibiotic treatment with clinical signs is a reasonable course of action. Antibiotics do kill people, but that usually has more to do with an allergic reaction. An autopsy would not test for Lyme, but if the body was donated to a medical school that could be part of some research. There was no citation so nothing more to really comment on. As to the quack, or questionable treatments that certainly isn’t unique to Lyme. 😉 Certainly after many years of MVT I’m still having problems!

The bigger issue is the invisible nature of many problems. This invisibility issue affects many diseases; though MS and Lyme are noteworthy here. Anonymous’ comment about Munchausen Syndrome should hit home to many MS’ers who’ve heard the “but you look so good.” Taking a look again at the NMSS site: You can’t see fatigue, depression, cognitive issues, emotional issues, depression, headaches, burning, pain, numbness, itching, etc. Furthermore, there’s no test confirming you are having most of these problems; it is just your word. It appears that Anonymous is early in her MS journey, and maybe has not encountered the difficulty of symptoms that are unseen. Hopefully she will not have to. Regardless, I hope she did not slap the Munchausen Syndrome label on her friend for problems she could not see.

  7 Responses to “Munchausen Syndrome”

  1. We we also know about Lyme is that there are multople co-infections that traditional titer tests to not detect. If your HMO does not allow more advanced and more expensive tests to find the bacteria, it will not be found. So you will be treated for something like “Chronic fatigue” your whole life for something totally different.

  2. Congratulations. I have eliminated my blog from the internet. You win. Enjoy.

  3. Drew,
    I completely agree. Lyme can be very difficult to diagnose. Treating the wrong disease, as with anything, doesn’t fix the core problem. Lyme, in theory, can be treated with a clinical diagnosis; but how many LLMD’s work that way? In the minimum a low CD-57 may be good enough; though my insurance does not pay for the test.

  4. It’s amazing to me how many people out there will say there’s no such thing as chronic lyme.. when there are actually people who have tested positive for lyme, years after being infected! How does a doubter explain that?

    Some people with chronic lyme never test IgG positive.. in fact, may test IgM positive, years after infection.

    What really annoys me are the doctors who happily tell a patient who has just been bit by a tick (and developed a rash) that there is no lyme where they live, and the rash is merely from itching, and they should probably go on anti-depressants (because they must be a raving loon). Yeah. Lovely.

  5. You might be interested in listening to the comments of a man with Multiple Sclerosis talk about autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Multiple Sclerosis and the similar problems encountered by people with these diagnoses.

    While the podcast entitled “Special Feature Interview with Douglas Giesel and An Update Interview with Lewis Schofield” is mostly autism-based, Douglas does comment on his MS at length. His words are very inspirational.

    Midnight In Chicago puts out these free audio podcasts, and they can be listened to at

  6. i was diagnosed with ms in ’01, and it has been a progressive worsening. of course, they had tested for lyme’s, but i was negative. i was recently tested again, and apparently am positive for the antibodies, but not the dna. it was an expensive test, the specialist and treatment is likely very invasive and i don’t want to go down that road if there is little or no chance of any improvement. i am also concerned that there might be some ‘snake oil salesman’ lurking behind the stage.

    if you have any help or experience to share, i would be much obliged.

    p.s. i don’t need to remain anonymous, but i’m new to this site, name is peter

  7. Re: Lyme

    Sadly many psych unstable people latch on to Lyme as a way to explain away their issues.

    The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society states on its site that “Reliable diagnostic tests are not yet available”.

    Furthermore, the chronic Lyme doctors fail to support their theories with any reliable scientific clinical data. But they will take your money.

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