There are many different types of skin issues that show no visible symptoms. One example is when you feel like something is biting you without seeing exactly what it is. What causes the feeling of something biting you, even though nothing is there?
A feeling of something biting you, even though nothing is there, could be due to Morgellons disease. Morgellons is a somewhat controversial and often misunderstood condition wherein thread-like fibers appear underneath the skin. These fibers cause sensations of tiny bugs crawling underneath the skin. Moreover, these fibers often lead to a stinging sensation all over the body.
Read on to learn more about Morgellons disease and what you can do to relieve the symptoms.
Feels like Something Is Biting Me but Nothing’s There?
Feeling like bugs are crawling and biting underneath your skin is the typical description of Morgellons disease. It is a rare condition wherein the patients report experiencing sensations. These sensations feel like countless tiny insects are crawling under their skin and biting them all over.
There is minimal information about Morgellons disease. And it remains a controversial issue within the healthcare community up to the present. Some medical experts claim that this is a real physical illness. Others, on the other hand, believe that it is a form of psychosis.
Why Is Morgellons Disease Controversial?
The reason why Morgellons Disease is so controversial is that no one really understands it. There is only minimal research done on this condition. Also, MD is not even classified as a true disease. Many health experts believe that it is more of a psychiatric illness rather than a physical one.
Recent studies have shown that the disease is true, but many doctors still believe that it is a psychiatric condition that needs antipsychotic medication.
The fibers that purportedly resulted from MD are also a source of heated debates in the medical field. Those who believe that MD is a real condition think that the fibers come from human cells. Meanwhile, those who oppose saying that they came from the patients’ clothes.
The history of MD also contributed to its controversial nature. In the 17th century, there were reports of coarse hairs that appeared on many children’s backs. And doctors back then called it “Morgellons.” However, in 1938, psychiatrists refer to this condition as delusional parasitosis. Or the feeling of seemingly having a swarm of insects underneath a person’s skin.
The symptoms of skin fiber eruptions started to re-emerge in 2002. During that time, the patients also claimed that they feel something crawling underneath their skin. Because of the similarities to the 17th-century reports, this condition got the name Morgellons disease.
However, since no proof of where the fibers originated, many doctors considered the condition as just delusional parasitosis.
Symptoms of Morgellons Disease [Feeling Like Something Is Biting You]
Morgellons disease involves the sudden appearance of fibers that protrude from the skin or underneath the top layer. These fibers may be red, white, blue, or black.
Patients with Morgellons also reported that they developed skin ulcers that are slow to heal.
The other symptoms that reportedly come with Morgellons include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor memory
- Slight to moderate muscle and joint pain
- Formication, the sensation of insect/s crawling or stinging underneath the skin
Diagnosing Morgellons Disease
A doctor might diagnose a patient as having Morgellons disease if there are slow-healing skin lesions and a skin-crawling sensation. If fibers are found in the skin lesions, the doctor must take samples. Then, they have to send the samples to a lab for further analysis.
Blood and skin samples may also be required to figure out if there is indeed a bacterial infection. If there is, in most cases, this involves the B. burgdorferi bacterium.
The doctor may also refer the patient for psychiatric evaluation, especially if the patient has a history of depression or anxiety, or any other form of mental illness. Doctors require this to rule out delusional parasitosis, which might explain the skin-crawling sensation.
Because Morgellons disease is so rare and controversial, doctors need to prescribe multiple testing procedures. They would only diagnose it pending the results of a full physical examination and laboratory tests.
How to Treat Morgellons Disease and Get Rid of the Biting Feeling
Because actual Morgellons disease are very few and far between, the medical field has yet to establish a standard treatment. However, there are currently two main approaches in dealing with possible cases of MD.
If the doctor thinks that MD results from an actual bacterial infection, the patient will be given broad-spectrum antibiotics. This might kill the bacteria and help the skin lesions to heal.
On the other hand, if you have any mental health issues before or after, a doctor will suggest psychotherapy. If needed, you will get antipsychotic medication.
If the doctor believes that MD is mainly a mental health issue, they might refer you to a psychiatrist to get therapy and medication.
Now, it can be quite devastating if you receive a psychiatric diagnosis when you believe that it’s a skin disease. However, you should also not dismiss the advice that your doctor gave you. At the very least, seek a second opinion to ensure you are getting the right diagnosis.
What Is Delusional Parasitosis?
Patients with Delusional Parasitosis Believe Parasites Infested Their Bodies
Patients suffering from delusional parasitosis firmly believe that insects, worms, parasites, and other creatures have infested their bodies. Some even completely convince themselves that parasites cover their entire home and surroundings.
Aside from that, they would often provide very descriptive theories on how the organisms entered their bodies. Often, they say that those organisms enter through open wounds or any bodily orifice.
Even though physical examinations show that their bodies are completely parasite-free, they would still feel countless numbers of tiny organisms crawling underneath their skin.
They Mutilate Their Own Skin to Rid of the Skin-Crawling Sensation
Most of the time, to help rid themselves of the skin-crawling sensation, they would mutilate their skin, often leading to bacterial infections. Some would use strong disinfectants on their skin, which could lead to chemical burns or allergic reactions.
People suffering from delusional parasitosis are so convinced that they genuinely have a serious ailment to bring their own samples, like scabs, lint, skin, and hair. Delusional parasitosis, although rare, somewhat exclusively affects middle-aged women.
Some Also Deal with Mental Illnesses
Some of the people who suffer from delusional parasitosis also deal with mental illnesses. Such ailments include illness anxiety disorder, which was formerly known as hypochondriasis.
It could be that they heard news and rumors about a form of skin disease from the internet. It might be the explanation as to why Morgellons disease suddenly resurfaced during the infancy of the internet.
Methamphetamines or Drug Withdrawal
Also, withdrawal from the use of methamphetamines and similar drugs and alcohol could cause delusional parasitosis, but this is very rare.
Coping with Morgellons Disease
Because there has not been much research done on Morgellons disease, it is still a relative mystery in the medical community. Also, the symptoms associated with MD may seem weird to ordinary people, and that might even be the case for your doctor.
People who believe that they have MD often worry that others think that their condition is only in their heads, or worse, that no one believes them. This can then lead to feelings of fear, frustration, and even depression. Those with MD would usually avoid other people, even their own families, due to their symptoms.
One of the ways you can cope with the issues associated with MD is to join a support group composed of those who have the same condition as you. Although the condition is rare, there are many support groups online where you can talk about your struggles with people who understand you because they went through the same things. You might even get helpful advice from the other members.
However, if you are suffering from delusional parasitosis and not really MD, not getting immediate psychiatric help might cause your condition to worsen. This is why you should at least give psychiatric treatment a chance.
Why People Don’t Seek Psychiatric Treatment?
Sometimes people who have Morgellons disease have a hard time accepting that they have a mental health disease due to the stigma. This is proven by a 2014 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. People with known mental health issues deter seeking treatment because they are afraid of what people think.
The social stigma surrounding people who are getting psychiatric help is that they are weak and incompetent. Some even wrongly believe that people with mental illness are unable to function by themselves. These negative views make the person suffer shame for seeking treatment.
However, the truth is that it takes a lot of strength to admit you have a problem and that you need help. If you can power through your fears and actively seek mental health assistance on your own right now, your future self will be most grateful that you did.
Social stigma is not the only reason why many people are hesitant about getting treatment. Other factors come into play as well. Some of the other reasons include poor access to healthcare, inconvenience, and lacking a sense of urgency for getting treatment.
Why Do You Have Seek Treatment for the Biting Feeling?
The biggest reason you need to get immediate mental health treatment is to improve your quality of life. Yes, the perceived symptoms of Morgellons disease can be very excruciating.
If you cannot find a medical doctor who would treat your ailment as a physical condition, then you should at least consider getting psychiatric help.
Make Your Life Manageable
Getting proper treatment will help make your life more manageable. It will then allow you to enjoy the things you previously could not because your condition prevented you.
Aside from vastly improved mental health, getting proper treatment comes with other benefits, including:
- Getting better quality sleep at night,
- Increased immunity,
- Decreased pain or discomfort levels,
- Getting psychiatric help can also greatly increase your productivity. You can focus better and motivate yourself to get your tasks done efficiently.
If there is one thing that would convince you to get psychiatric care, it could help increase your life expectancy. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2012 found that even a mild mental health issue can shorten a person’s life expectancy by a significant amount.
Conclusion – It Feels like Something Is Biting But Don’t See Anything
If you feel like tiny insects are biting your skin, but there is nothing there, then you might be suffering from a rare illness called Morgellons disease. It is a highly controversial and very much misunderstood condition with symptoms including thread-like fibers mysteriously appearing underneath the skin. It then causes the sensation of tiny bugs crawling underneath your skin.
The problem with having Morgellons disease is that the medical community is at odds whether it is a real physical illness or a mental health issue. Some doctors believe that it is a condition that is a result of some bacterial infection. Meanwhile, some think that it is due to a mental illness called delusional parasitosis. It is indicative of the skin-crawling or biting sensation.
If you experience a sensation that feels like something is biting me, but nothing’s there, you should consult with a doctor you trust explicitly. Go for someone whose opinion you highly value and you know only wants the best for you.