Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Posts Tagged ‘lyme

Crystal meth

with 3 comments

Crystal meth, or methamphetamine is the notorious drug of choice for troubled young Hollywood starlets these days.

A certain young pop singer whose career is taking a tumble down hill was rumoured to have shaved off her hair earlier this year due to a bout of crystal meth psychosis. Meth can induce crawling and itching sensations and hallucinations of bugs – one source reported that said the girl complained that lice or bugs were ‘eating her hair extensions’ and driving her crazy and making her head itch and skin crawl. There are much less radical solutions to a bout of head lice than shaving one’s head – any good hairdresser could have taken out her extensions and treated the problem properly. But crystal meth can also cause you to lose your inhibitions and do strange things – like sitting next to a swimming pool shaving your legs in public, or going to the toilet with the door open, or flashing your wares to the paparazzi, to name but a few of this poor lass’s recent antics. This is also the kind of experience someone would have if they were, say, bipolar, and were having an episode of delusional mania.

Methamphetamine (methylamphetamine or desoxyephedrine), popularly shortened to meth or ice, is a psychostimulant and sympathomimetic drug. The dextrorotatory isomer dextromethamphetamine can be prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, though unmethylated amphetamine is more commonly prescribed.

[…]

Methamphetamine enters the brain and triggers a cascading release of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. To a lesser extent methamphetamine acts as a dopaminergic and adrenergic reuptake inhibitor and in high concentrations as a monamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Since it stimulates the mesolimbic reward pathway, causing euphoria and excitement, it is prone to abuse and addiction. Users may become obsessed or perform repetitive tasks such as cleaning, hand-washing, or assembling and disassembling objects. Withdrawal is characterized by excessive sleeping, eating and depression-like symptoms, often accompanied by anxiety and drug-craving. Users of methamphetamine often take one or more benzodiazepines as a means of “coming down”.

[…]

Because of its social stigma, Desoxyn is not generally prescribed for ADHD unless other stimulants, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin®), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®) or mixed amphetamines (Adderall®) have failed.

[…]

Range of Effects

  • Euphoria
  • Increased energy and attentiveness
  • Diarrhea, nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Loss of appetite, insomnia, tremor, jaw-clenching (Bruxism)
  • Agitation, compulsive fascination with repetitive tasks (Punding)
  • Talkativeness, irritability, panic attacks
  • Increased libido

Side effects associated with chronic use:

  • Drug craving
  • Weight loss
  • Withdrawal-related depression and anhedonia
  • Rapid tooth decay (“meth mouth”)
  • Amphetamine psychosis

Side effects associated with overdose:

  • Brain damage/ Meningitis caused by lead poisoning(Neurotoxicity)
  • Formication (sensation of flesh crawling with bugs, with possible associated compulsive picking and infecting sores)
  • Paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, which may trigger a tension headache.
  • Rhabdomyolysis (Muscle breakdown) which leads to kidney failure

Death from overdose is usually due to stroke, heart failure, but can also be caused by cardiac arrest (sudden death) or hyperthermia. Methamphetamine Wiki

As well as disturbing the levels of catecholamines in the brain, crystal meth appears to be a methyl donor as it raises blood levels of SAMe. In light of both of these effects, it’s not surprising that it causes the symptoms listed above.

These symptoms overlap with some of the symptoms – albeit much milder – that I experienced during my recent methyl donor experiment. Though the experiment finished three weeks ago, I’m still paying for it with rebound depression and very slow skin healing. Caffeine and folate have the same side effects.

If you want to see what crystal meth does to the skin you should visit this site.

Crystal meth produces amphetamine psychosis. One of the most interesting symptoms of crystal meth use in particular is delusional parasitosis.

Physical illnesses that can underly secondary organic delusional parasitosis include: hypothyroidism, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, tuberculosis, neurological disorders, vitamin B12 deficiency, and diabetes mellitus. Any illness of medication of which formication is a symptom or side effect can become a trigger or underlying cause of delusional parasitosis.

Other physiological factors which can contribute to the condition include menopause; allergies; drug abuse, including but not limited to cocaine and methamphetamine (as in amphetamine psychosis); certain medical conditions; and poor nutrition. It appears that many of these physiological factors, as well as environmental factors such as airborne irritants, are capable of inducing the “crawling” sensation in otherwise healthy individuals, but that some people become fixated on the sensation, and this fixation may then develop into delusional parasitosis.

[…]

Details of delusional parasitosis vary among sufferers, but is most commonly described as involving perceived parasites crawling upon or burrowing into the skin, sometimes accompanied by an actual physical sensation (known as formication). Individuals suffering from this condition may injure themselves in attempts to be rid of the “parasites”, and sometimes are able to induce the condition in others through suggestion (a phenomenon dubbed folie à deux). Nearly any marking upon the skin, or small object or particle found on the person or their clothing, can be interpreted as evidence for the parasitic infestation, and sufferers commonly compulsively gather such “evidence” and then present it to medical professionals when seeking help. The condition is seen most commonly in women, and the frequency is much higher past the age of 40. Delusional parasitosis

And here we enter the weird world of ‘Morgellon’s disease’.

Persons who suffer from this unexplained condition report crawling, biting, and stinging sensations; finding fibers on or under the skin; and persistent skin lesions (e.g. rashes or sores). In addition to skin manifestations, some also report fatigue, mental confusion, short term memory loss, joint pain, and changes in vision. It is not known at present whether the condition represents a new disease entity, or whether persons who identify themselves as having Morgellons have a common cause for their symptoms, share common risk factors, or are contagious. A majority of health professionals, including most dermatologists, regard Morgellons as a manifestation of other known medical conditions, including delusional parasitosis. The Morgellons Research Foundation, a non-profit advocacy organization, believes that it is a new infectious disease that will be confirmed by future research. Morgellons

“I am an ex-methamphetamine addict. I am also an ex-morgie.” Writes a man who goes by the pseudonym Tall Cotton.

My nightmare began when a hole developed in my right lower jawline, beneath my ear. A sticky, oil-like material oozed from the hole. I’m not certain that the two events were directly related, but in retrospect I came to believe that that was about the same time that I had begun using methamphetamines. As I sat, peeling away a skin-like layer of material that had dried around that weeping hole, I realized there was no material lying where I had dropped it, not a single strip of this skin-like material. I thought that seemed very strange, because I knew I had dropped it, so I went to a mirror in the bathroom, and in the bright light projected by the bulbs that bordered the mirror, I peel away another strip of material as one might peel away sunburned skin. But the instant that material broke free from the skin on my face, it shot into the tip of my finger and disappeared from sight. I thought to myself, “Whatever it is, it doesn’t want to leave!” I came to a quick, but false hypothesis, the first of many false conclusions, that the material had a mind of its own.

[…]

On several occasions, after flicking the material off of my fingertips, it would take the shape of a tiny clam. I’ve chased these across my floors on many occasions. I quickly learned that these objects could turn on the heat. It would come suddenly, and it would be extremely intense. It burned into my flesh and into any object it seemingly “chose” to. I learned to run them down and snag them with my locking tweezers. Two of these objects exploded in a small cardboard box where I housed them. The explosions yielded a multitude of multi-colored rocks, a half dozen white hairs, a half dozen black hairs, and one green hair. These hairs were about 2 inches in length. But there was one large, jet black hair, about 3 inches in length, and obviously motile. There was also half a portion of one of the clam shells. Inside it had compartments, and stored inside there were coils of cottony white fiber.

On another occasion, I found a wax-like drop of goo, inside the lid of my dishwasher. As I stared at the droplet it exploded with a pop. My forearms were instantly penetrated with sharp shrapnel. These pieces of material were burning my skin and working their way deeper. I grabbed my tweezers and I pulled long, needles of material out of my skin. I also pull out a portion of white fiber, but it seemed to be holding on with a million tiny tentacles, and it was impossible for me to retrieve it all. When two of friends came into my kitchen and saw what I was doing, they thought I had gone crazy. There were splats of blood, all down my countertop, where I had slapped the needle-like spines out of my tweezers and quickly returned to my flesh for more. The craziest thing was this. When I tried to show them the needles, just as I began clamping onto them with my tweezers, they melted before my eyes. The Lie of Morgellons

Methylation disorders and catecholamine imbalances are connected not only to ADHD, autism and fibromyalgia, but also to bipolar delusional mania and schizophrenia. Hallucinating bugs and things coming out of or going into the body is very common in schizophrenia. One of my friends at university was a schizophrenic who had bug hallucinations. She also had many symptoms of B12 deficiency including goiter – her first ‘episode’ began, unusually, after menopause, only two years after she became a vegetarian. I suspect she has a number of genes that left her very vulnerable after her change in diet. These are the consequences of screwing around with methylation vitamins like B12, zinc, B6, folate, SAMe, choline and betaine/TMG. Be careful.

Advertisements

Written by alienrobotgirl

5 October, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Methyl Donors

Tagged with ,

Coming up against a brick wall

with 4 comments

I tried to communicate with a couple of people on the native-nutrition board recently, but they were having none of it. One is taking a lot of salt and vitamin C. I believe from her other symptoms she is a possible candidate for food chemical intolerance and I hoped she would try the diet, at least in order to rule it out (she has been diagnosed with lyme disease – something I always have questions about). Adrenaline (for which you need salt and vitamin C) is good at masking the effects of food chemical intolerance symptoms, but it is not a cure. Sodium bicarbonate would be more effective. It did not surprise me at all when she mentioned this new symptom, because every time she mentions a new symptom, she fits more and more the food chemical intolerance profile.

The other recently complained of excess sebum and ridiculously greasy hair. Again, I’ve been there and it’s no surprise to see this symptom in someone I already suspected had food chemical intolerance. Before I discovered failsafe, I spent two years asking myself: why is my skin and hair so appallingly greasy? Am I a teenager? Have I got excessively high testosterone levels? What the heck is going wrong in my body when I’m eating such a “healthy” natural diet?

This week I’ve been sneaking: I’ve been having a caffeinated coffee every day – partly because it helps me lose weight, and partly because it fuels weight-lifting at the gym pretty effectively. Four days in I realised I was addicted to caffeine again and if I stopped I would have a completely useless day where I was knocked out by a migraine. I also realised my face was starting to flush again. Caffeine has that effect – but also salicylates, also in coffee. Day five, and after being clear of dermatitis for several months, I’ve a patch appeared above my mouth. Interesting how quickly it happens. Something else I’ve noticed is that my back, which had become very firm and pain-free, has started popping and cracking again, and I’ve somehow hurt my knee very easily whilst swimming.

On the subject of communicating with people, I have a friend who I was drawn to because she seemed to be similar to me. She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has funny routines for her kitchen. As a child she had frequent ear infections and had to have grommits, and was deaf until she was a teenager. She has strange problems with her eyes which she blames on an overdose of malaria medication when she was a teenager. She was a very rebellious as a teenager – one might say she had Oppositional Defiance Disorder – to the extent her parents sent her away to a foreign country. She gets migraines, and frequent infections. Her brothers and sisters all have moodswings and problems of their own (one – oh so fittingly – swears by a macrobiotic diet). She has a tendency to make rash choices and spontaneous decisions. She has a three year old daughter who gets frequent ear infections just like her mother did. Her daughter overheated and had a seizure last year. She also has lazy eye (amylopia), which is a brain/laterality problem closely related to strabismus (deviating eye), both of which are food intolerance associated. I noticed last year that she gets hyperactive, naughty, and tearful approaching mealtimes, and is off in her own world some of the time. It’s also a big battle to get her to go to sleep at nights. In other words, there are a lot of indicators.

This seems to me a fairly clear example of a condition running in families. It also seemed clear to me at the time that whatever I had wrong with me, my friend also had wrong with her. Because she is a pescatarian and often vegetarian, and because I am an ex-vegetarian who now eats almost 100% animal foods (though more of these calories come from eggs and dairy than meat), it has been very difficult for me to broach the subject with her, and I’ve repeatedly dropped matters despite having more answers because she’s very independent and has this ODD-style tendency to push back deliberately when people push her.

My friend is determined to be ‘relaxed’ and ‘not feel guilty’ about her diet, because her mother suffered from anorexia. Her partner, who is quite charismatic, does not believe that diet affects people’s health, which does not help matters. My friend regularly eats MSG in Quorn, artificial colours and flavours in ostensibly “healthy” foods like yoghurt and other processed foods, drinks tea, gets lots of sulphites in wine, and eats a lot of vegetables and fish. In short, it’s a very high-chemical, high mercury diet. Of all my friends, trying to talk to her about diet has been like coming up against a brick wall. Despite trying hard not to interfere, she read something on my other blog a few months back and decided it was about her (it wasn’t), and I was telling her what to eat (I wasn’t). When I wrote to tell her I had finally cracked my problems and I was getting better on failsafe, the response was, well, not pretty, and, being rather hurt, I haven’t spoken to her since.

How do I fix this?

Written by alienrobotgirl

2 September, 2006 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Talking to the Brick Wall

Tagged with

More adventures in internet land

with 2 comments

Before I went on holiday I was trying to start up some dialogue with the Weston A. Price Foundation on the native-nutrition messageboard. I don’t think it really worked. I had some interest, but in general, people on that board are simply too prejudiced about natural foods vs. artificial foods to consider the idea that fruit and vegetables and aged meat can actually be bad for some people.

I rapidly got sick of nutters telling me I have lyme disease (in my opinion, lyme-disease-misinformation-disseminators belong in the ninth circle of hell, the level below candida-misinformation-disseminators). When are people going to realise that lyme disease testing and treatment is all a big scam? The antibiotics people are put on to treat “lyme disease” give them the symptoms of “lyme disease”. The non-profit websites that have sprung up all over the place are financed by drug companies who are making cash out of lyme disease testing and treatment. The Western Blot tests are appallingly inaccurate (false positives abound in lyme testing). Some people are absolutely convinced that lyme disease is “the cause” of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, you name it. No. Lyme disease is the cause of lyme disease. It should not be confused with other conditions.

One woman started emailing me off-board to accuse me of being “hostile” for not accepting her lyme disease theory (after I had given her a sarky reply on-board for her basically calling failsafe a dangerous diet – some people are just horrified by the idea of not eating fruit and vegetables).

I gave up trying to help the original individual who had asked for help and listed her symptoms under the umbrella term “fibromyalgia” (her symptoms sounded much more like classic food chemical intolerance than the fibromyalgia variety). I’m afraid you need to be pretty intelligent to be able to do failsafe, especially without support. Otherwise you are just going to get tripped up by all kinds of things you don’t understand, or you’ll cheat, and you’ll fail before you even get anywhere.

I feel like smacking my forehead every time I go near the messageboards I read. I’m going to have to unsubscribe from most of the groups before I burst with frustration. Native-nutrition is full of individuals who have food chemical intolerance related conditions asking for help (for example, today “head noise” is a topic of discussion, with symptoms like insomnia, crankiness, hypnic jerks and pounding heart beat). But do you really think they would listen to me if I mentioned the word “tyramine” to them? Well, they’d listen until I mentioned the words “elimination diet which cuts out most fruit, vegetables and aged proteins”). It hurts to know there are people out there who could be helped, who simply won’t listen to the answer they’re given because it contradicts their preprogrammed dogma about what foods are “healthy for you”, or because it simply sounds like too much hard work.

For example, there is someone I’ve been in contact with who has a definite self-diagnosed sulphur intolerance issue. Now, if you have a sulphur-intolerance issue, you probably need to try the failsafe diet. The same individual has a huge range of food chemical intolerance indicator symptoms. Now, I can show this person a piece of pure biochemistry, but though I explained to him that his symptoms would be relieved by the diet, he refused to even consider doing failsafe because he would “have to live like a monk”. Ironically, doing everything from juice-fasts to the Optimal Diet does not count as “living like a monk”. I recently sent him some pretty important information about sulphur intolerance, but rudely, he has not replied to me.

A subsection of people who do failsafe regain their tolerance for salicylates after doing failsafe for as little as six months. Apparently six months is too long for some, who would rather “treat” themselves – and their children – based on unproven and sometimes completely erroneous theories. The number of parents of autistic and ADHD children who I have come across who would rather megadose their kids with dangerous and even harmful vitamin formulas or use other dubious methods based on wild stabs in the dark is amazing. By contrast, the parents of such children who write on the sulphur groups demonstrate advanced knowledge of biochemistry, and a real understanding of how to perform controlled scientific experiments. I feel pretty sad for the kids whose parents don’t care enough, or don’t try enough, to get that far.

I think the only way I am going to get the message across is with a dedicated all-singing, all-dancing biochemistry website. Sigh.

It took Sue Dengate something like eight years to be willing to accept that salicylates were the cause of her daughter’s uncontrollable ADHD. I wonder if it will also take WAPF that long?

Written by alienrobotgirl

15 August, 2006 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Talking to the Brick Wall

Tagged with , ,