These are among the most troublesome and mistreated forms of environmental disease. In the following paragraphs, the overall scope of systemic problems related to the withdrawal stage will be surveyed and an overview provided of the complexity of the problem.


The pain may be localized in one part of the head, or it may be generalized. It may occur with or without nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, or muscle involvement. It can meet the classical picture of migraine, with visions of flashing lights, and a general malaise. It is frequently accompanied by blurring of vision, weakness of the limbs, or pains in the nape, shoulders, and upper back—for this reason headache qualifies as a systemic, not just a local, problem.

Sometimes a headache is followed by a period of relative good health in which no pain is present. This “breathing space” tends to occur in the earlier stages of the problem, however. As it develops, headaches tend to become increasingly common and more severe.


Both fatigue and headache are commonly associated with myalgia, or muscle pain. The frequency of this association has led some doctors to refer to it as the “tension-fatigue syndrome.” While the term suggests that the syndrome is caused by psychological tension, it is most commonly related to food and chemical susceptibility.

Myalgia, although frequently centered in the nape of the neck, may involve many other muscles. Muscle spasms (such as torticollis, lumbago, and sciatica), muscle cramps, aches, pains and weakness, chest pains (through the involvement of muscles of the chest wall), and abdominal pains are all possible symptoms.

Ignorance of the allergic basis of these pains sometimes leads to incorrect diagnoses of pleurisy, appendicitis, and even heart attacks.


Arthritis of all types, arthralgia (joint aches), joint swelling, and bursitis all frequently have an allergic basis and can be controlled through altering the environment, as the case histories will make clear.

fatigue (minus-two reaction)

By allergic fatigue is meant tiredness which is unrelieved by the customary, or even an excessive, amount of rest. Fatigue is possibly the most common systemic symptom caused by allergy.* Although there are many variations on this theme, fatigue resulting from food allergy is usually at its worst in the morning and gradually improves as the day advances. This is due to the daily schedule of the food addict. Allergic fatigue is associated with general weakness, drowsiness, and the sensation of heavy limbs. It is also frequently associated with other allergic responses, such as swelling, headache, irritability, and low levels of confusion and depression.

Fatigue caused by exposure to pollen and other inhalants is also known, but is usually seasonal and easier to recognize and control.

brain-fag or impaired thinking ability (minus-three reactions)

“Brain-fag” is a designation for a rather severe, but unfortunately common, condition. This is the minus-three category, and its symptoms are systemic, but predominantly “mental” rather than physical. Such patients suffer from mild depression, with sadness, moodiness, and sullenness; mental confusion and disturbed thinking; impaired memory and reading comprehension; minimal brain dysfunction; indecisiveness; mental lapses, including aphasia and blackouts; and, in general, the whole gamut of “neuroses,” hypochondria, and so-called psychosomatic illnesses.

All of these problems can occur, but more commonly only a few of them are found in a single individual. The condition may get somewhat better for a while, or it may change back to a minus-two reaction (systemic and physical). But the general tendency is for it to linger or to get worse with the passage of time.

In a sense this is the most characteristic form of food and chemical allergy, for it represents the “bottom-of-the-barrel” for a great many advanced cases.

severe depression, with or without altered consciousness (M1NUS-three and minus-four reactions)

Depression straddles the fence between minus-three and minus-four reactions. In its most severe form, the patient experiences stupor, lethargy, and impaired responsiveness. Childish thinking, disorientation, amnesia, paranoid feelings, and even hallucinations may occur. Apathy, lethargy, and stupor are seen. The patient at this extreme level may lapse into a coma.

The minus-four stage also includes the various forms of “psychosis,” including manic-depressive disease and schizophrenia.

Most allergy patients never reach this extreme level of depression. However, once they do, it is difficult to treat them or even to obtain a history. In the latter stages of this kind of illness, a patient often cannot take care of himself and often cannot even give his correct name, much less a coherent history of his illness. The cause of the problem can usually be detected, but a great deal of family support is necessary for complete recovery. Schizophrenics who have become used to, and comfortable with, state welfare support or institutionalized care often make poor patients and may not be properly motivated to get better.

It should be obvious, then, that the scope of environmental disease is great. It includes many of the common chronic ailments which send people to doctors, although of course other causes of these ailments are also possible and should be investigated along with food and chemical susceptibility. It would be impossible in a book such as this to give a more thorough treatment of all of these syndromes. Instead, four common illnesses will be discussed at greater length below. The first is a physical ailment—headache—which is often erroneously diagnosed as psychosomatic in origin. The second is a physical, systemic illness—rheumatoid arthritis. The third is “brain-fag,” the most characteristic form of illness caused by food and chemical allergy. Finally, the most severe form of the problem, depression (which straddles minus-three and minus-four categories), is examined in greater depth.

The case histories in each chapter should add a human aspect to the rather bare bones of theory and show how even the seemingly incurable cases can be properly diagnosed and treated, and how many patients have been enabled to start leading normal lives once more.


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