Mystery Illness: All in the Mind?
I'm quoting here with omissions. Italics and emphases are mine
Vosylius, 56, of Mound, is one of thousands of people who believe they have a terrible disease not recognized by any doctor or public health organization -- Morgellons disease. It has a lot of symptoms...
Now, after a year or more of pressure from people who believe they have it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has agreed to investigate Morgellons to determine whether it's a real disease or a shared delusion. "Either way," said Dan Rutz, a CDC spokesman, "it's a public health threat."
...for now it has joined a whole host of other syndromes with no known cause or cure that some experts say are spread by the media and the Internet. They include chronic fatigue, Gulf War syndrome, chronic Lyme disease, fibromyalgia and others. The federal government has spent millions of dollars researching them, but they remain mysterious and difficult or impossible to treat.
"It's an epidemic of diagnoses, not diseases," and a drain on public health dollars, said Dr. Edward Shorter, a professor and expert on the history of psychiatry at the University of Toronto. "It's a phenomenon of modern mass communications."
And, he added, the reluctance of many to acknowledge that their problems might be mental rather than physical.
On the other hand, say others, there are many things that medicine doesn't understand, and arguing that such mysterious diseases aren't real usually doesn't help the people who think they are.
"Then what do you do with these people?" asked Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. "It doesn't solve the problem for this person who is impaired by what you are calling not real."
They are dancing right on the very edge of Christian Science and don't see it...