The NY Times discusses Dr. Phillips’s new book about chronic illness
By Ross Douthat
As it happens, the minority view — that chronic Lyme is actually a chronic infection, not just an autoimmune response or a psychosomatic malady — has a new defense this month: a book called “Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic and How to Get Better Again,” written by Dr. Steven Phillips, a Lyme practitioner and researcher, and one of his patients, the musician Dana Parish.
The book makes the case that the spread of what the authors call Lyme+, an array of tick-borne pathogens that often infect patients simultaneously, is responsible not just for the more than 400,000 cases of Lyme disease diagnosed each year in the United States but also for an unknown number of chronic infections beyond that — undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and left untreated because of a combination of testing failures, institutional bias and the horrible complexity of the diseases themselves.
Then further, they argue that most of these cases can be treated effectively. Many people who are told they have a condition that can only be managed, not eliminated — to say nothing of the people told “It’s all in your head” — could claw back toward normalcy, if not always perfect health, with a long-term regimen of oral antibiotics and a doctor who’s willing to work with them to figure out which drug combination works.