“Lyme aid” (Chronic Lyme Disease)

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In an article for Huffington Post, Suzy Cohen warned readers they were in danger of Chronic Lyme Disease if they had been in a Lyme-prone area, owned a dog or cat, had lain in the grass, or traipsed through the woods. This conservatively puts 95 percent of the population at risk.

To tell if one has it, Cohen advises to be on the lookout for these symptoms: fatigue, stiffness, headaches, tinnitus, anemia, dizziness, confusion, tingling, numbness, forgetfulness, sleeplessness, chest pain, palpitations, anxiety, depression, light and sound sensitivity, and joint and muscle pain. Persons will also have shortness of breath after reciting that list. It probably applies to 100 percent of us, as anyone qualifies if they’ve had one night of insomnia, one instance of forgetfulness, or one backache.

This large symptom umbrella has allowed Dr. Richard Horowitz to diagnose 12,000 patients with the disease. Consider how loose a definition this requires. If just one-quarter of one percent of the country’s doctors diagnosed the same number of patients as Horowitz did, everyone in the country would be said to be afflicted with Chronic Lyme Disease.

Horowitz claims his treatment can detoxify, boost the immune system, and remove heavy metals. One cannot detoxify, except by having a working liver and kidneys. Boosting the immune system is impossible except in extreme cases involving conditions much more serious than Lyme disease, such as late-stage cancer or HIV positivity. As to heavy metals, if a person needs arsenic, iron, or lead removed, these are life-threatening conditions. The patient should be in the emergency room, not thumbing through People at the holistic health clinic.

Most CLD treatment practitioners will usually say that continual antibiotic therapy is the only way to attack it. But they won’t claim to cure it, because that would be the end of it. Treatment, by contrast, can continue until the patient dies or the money runs out.

Those offering CLD treatment create the condition, stoke the fears, and then offer the solution in exchange for a lifetime of loyalty and money. So it’s pretty much like a religion, except you go to a clinic, not a temple.

Still, patients with unexplained symptoms welcome the diagnosis since it offers an answer and a path to resolution. One of the main causes of stress is lack of information. In the case of unexplained illnesses, this vacuum can be filled with a diagnosis of Chromic Lyme Disease, so the patient feels relieved. It also offers an alternative medicine trifecta by being immediate, absolute, and cheap. It’s appealing for the practitioner as well. Like chiropractic, essential oils, and energy healing, it promises a quick fix, but also keeps the patient coming back, since any symptom is a sign that follow-up work is need. Unlike the others, however, CLD treatment can be dangerous or even deadly, since the treatment program is a continual influx of antibiotics. The Centers For Disease Control warns that this prolonged use can spur the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The most obvious sign of Lyme disease is an increasing rash that is red and circular, not unlike a bull’s-eye. It is likely accompanied by extreme fatigue, fever, chills, sweat, and nausea. A two-step protocol using a single blood sample will determine if the patient has the disease. If so, a brief course of antibiotics will take care of it, as it is well-established that Lyme disease is a bacterial illness transmitted by ticks.

By contrast, CLD has no science-based evidence and features an unending antibiotic treatment, augmented by several alternative medicine methods. These can be labeled holistic, integrative, complementary, or spiritual. This treatment is given by persons often calling themselves consultants. It’s unclear who they are consulting, but it’s not researchers conducting double blind studies. Two randomized trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that long-term antibiotic treatment performed no better than placebos for healing symptoms blamed on CLD.

The alternative medicine methods appeal to the afflicted because one can continually ride the CLD carousel, regardless of how unproven or unlikely a treatment is. There are ointments, oils, and Reiki, creating a potpourri of potions, lotions, and motions to choose from.

In his investigation of CLD, Dr. Mark Crislip found more than 30 treatments offered, a dead giveaway that the field is bogus. The same patient with allegedly the same disease could get six vastly different treatments from six different clinicians. These include healings based on oxygen, radiation, nutrition, chelation, homeopathy, and stem cell transplants. The reason this net is so wide is because the disease is made-up, so there’s no standard way to deal with it. In treating real diseases, authentic doctors can use various methods, but they’re in the same ballpark. By contrast, those treating Chronic Lyme Disease aren’t even playing the same sport.

The unethical act of treating a nonexistent illness is exacerbated because it keeps the patient from being properly diagnosed. The patient will never truly get better since illnesses will always come creeping back, with any symptom being labeled another CLD flare-up. As for me, I have Chronic Chronic Lyme Disease Fatigue.

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