In 2012, science journalist Laura Helmuth, PhD wrote about Lyme disease conspiracy theories promoted by politicians such as Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Governor Bob McDonnell.
Ironically, years later, a believer in chronic Lyme disease Al Miller tried to recruit Ann and Mitt Romney into the cult of chronic Lyme by suggesting Ann’s multiple sclerosis was really Lyme disease. Alfred Miller is a retired medical doctor whose daughter tragically died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He is convinced that Lyme disease caused her ALS even though there is no connection between ALS and Lyme disease.
Untreated depression has severe consequences:
A friend of one of my brothers had been suffering for years from headaches, fatigue, a sense of despair, a belief that she wasn’t worthy of her job or her boyfriend. She was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease and was treated with antibiotics, which were ineffective. What she wasn’t treated for, and could have been, was severe depression. She killed herself.
On people falsely diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease:
Their symptoms are real, and they deserve help. But giving them a phantom diagnosis and making them part of a crusade to bring truth to medicine just perpetuates the idea that the symptoms they describe must be part of a complex, classic disease. It’s much more likely to be depression, and depression is treatable.
As the CDC gently points out, mentioning other diagnoses that have been favorite catch-alls, “Your doctor may want to treat you in ways similar to patients who have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This does not mean that your doctor is dismissing your pain or saying that you have these conditions. It simply means that the doctor is trying to help you cope with your symptoms using the best tools available.”
The full article is worth reading: “Why Is Romney Campaigning on Medical Quackery?“
- Jennifer Hollis was treating a fake disease with bleach rather than getting help for her depression. She took her own life.
- Hassett AL, et al. Role of psychiatric comorbidity in chronic Lyme disease. Arthritis Rheum. 2008;59(12):1742-9.
- Hassett AL, et al. Psychiatric comorbidity and other psychological factors in patients with “chronic Lyme disease”. Am J Med. 2009;122(9):843-50.