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Delusional Parasitosis, or actual bed bugs?

(3 posts)
  1. ptsdbugs

    Joined: Jun '14
    Posts: 1


    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Jun 21 2014 12:33:11

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    I am a newbie here, so please bear with me on this forum

    For the past 2 months, I have been getting bit up by something awful. Some bites are huge flat and red, and others look like pimples. Two nights ago I woke up with 3 in a row pimple like bites, and on my shoulder under my bra strap they were big red ones. About 8 months ago we had a small incidence with bed bugs, had a professional come, inspect, then another inspect, and sprayed to be safe. All was good until a couple of months ago when i started getting bit.

    Mind you, I have found all sorts of bugs in the room-carpet beetles, biting gnats, spider nest, moquitoes.

    I have ripped apart everything in that room. Seams in the mattress, the mattress top, headboard, box spring, dressers, nightstands, the works. Outlets, floorboards, picture frames, curtains, and light switches too. Not a damn thing. No black spots, no blood on the sheets at all, no carcasses, no eggs, no bugs, nothing.

    My question is, could I be suffering from this delusional parasitosis? Or attacked by something else. It is really freaking me out. I know I am getting bit by mosquitoes. But the fact that as I am writing this I feel like something is crawling on me makes me think it is all in my head.

    I lay in bed sometimes, feeling as though something is crawling on me. I will get the flashligh on my phone, and look...and there is nothing. Nothing in sheets. Nothing on my legs.

    Any insight to this would be greatly appreciated.

    I should also note that I have a history of anxiety

  2. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,262


    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Jun 21 2014 12:51:54

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    I understand you had a confirmed case of bed bugs 8 months ago and no recent inspections? In this case, you might get a professional inspection again. There will be signs if bed bugs are present, but someone skilled may have a better chance of locating them. If they find evidence, please post a photo here.

    Bed bug monitors may help you confirm you don't have bed bugs now. Are you using any? we have a FAQ on monitors.

    Are there any birds or bats nesting on or in the house? Note that bird of bat bugs look a lot like bed bugs, but signs like fecal stains are often not found in the conventional places. It's very unlikely but worth ruling out.

    Also, keep in mind skin reactions from bed bugs don't generally appear right away. If you found a skin reaction, you could have been bitten hours, days or even a week or more earlier. Consider whether you may be being bitten elsewhere outside the home, perhaps even wherever you got bed bugs the last time around? You may not have any idea where that is, but keeping a log of places you go and when skin reactions appear (and where) may help.

    I say all this not to make you more anxious. Inspections and monitors, in particular, should help alleviate anxiety, if clear. Take practical steps and then relax, rather than spinning your anxiety wheels.

    There are many possibilities besides bed bugs and "being attacked by something else" and delusional parasitosis. You might see a doctor to rule out medical causes. People here who thought they had bed bugs have later reported the cause to be folliculitis, and a skin condition related to having diabetes and hypothyroidism. I'm not saying either is your situation, but just that there are a lot of skin issues which may be mistaken for bed bug bites.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. endless_nightmare

    Joined: Apr '12
    Posts: 769


    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Jun 21 2014 21:20:01

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    could I be suffering from this delusional parasitosis?

    I doubt it (mind you I'm not a doctor and you should never take medical advice from someone on the internet)

    People who have this delusion fall basically in two types:

    1- no matter what anyone says or do or prove to them, tell never ever believe that they are suffering from Delusional Parasitosis. That's part of the disease, the part in their brain that leaves a possibility for other causes than bugs has shut down. The belief is as strong as something like "if I'm thirsty I drink water" now imagine someone telling you that drinking water won't help if you are thirsty..... you'll say that's impossible

    well for them, it's impossible that their issue is not bug related, they'll never ever even consider it

    2- sometimes a doubt remains, this is mostly for the anxiety type of issue, once they are able to admit that it could be that, they get treated by CBT and anti-depressants, recovery is very quick

    In Canada where I am, you need to see three doctors to get a final diagnosis and they all work together, sometimes they'll throw in a social worker who will even inspect your house with a PCO.

    You get a skin biopsy from a dermatologist (usually more than one), from there this goes to an allergy specialist, but if it's negative and you still suspect bugs, the psychiatrist will treat you for Delusional Parasistosis and the allergist will try to figure out what could be causing your issue or making it worse.

    Common myths about this:

    You have to be psychotic

    Untrue, anxiety, depression can bring it on

    If I sleep elsewhere and I don't get "bit" I don't have it

    Untrue, the mind is extremely powerful, especially when ill

    My child, husband has it too so it's not that

    Untrue, like any delusion it can be a shared one

    Bites are in sets of 3, there is a puncture wound in the middle, it looks 100% like a picture of Bed Bug bites

    Sets of 3 is a myth, and skin reaction can look exactly like bed bug bites

    Don't forget:
    Pills, medication, vitamins, something you eat can cause skin reactions
    All sorts of diseases
    Soaps, fabric, dust, etc etc

    The very first step is detection if you set up monitors and after awhile you have no signs looked for another cause, get a pro PCO in for a good visual inspection, if both of those show no bugs

    it's time to let go of the obsession

    sometimes people are able to do it on their own, usually at least a psychotherapist is involved

    if you cannot let go of the obsession a psychiatrist has to be seen

    not a PCO
    Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy/Volunteer

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