Thursday, April 8, 2010

My name is absepa, and I am a STATS sufferer

Severe Tick-Associated Trauma Syndrome (STATS)

Severe Tick-Associated Trauma Syndrome, or STATS, is a short-lived but deeply distressing condition directly attributable to a variety of the family Ixodoidea, more commonly known as a tick. It typically affects individuals who are predisposed to moderate to severe entomophobia (or fear of insects), but anyone can be affected. There is no known cure for STATS, although the severity of the condition typically lessens as time passes following the initial contact with the tick.

Although each individual presents differently when affected with STATS, one or more of the following symptoms may be observed:

- an overall “freaked-out” appearance
- sobbing
- whimpering
- trembling
- bouts of swearing (directed toward those @#$* bugs)
- nausea (typically observed during the process of removing the tick)
- an intense need for chocolate and/or a glass of wine (following tick removal)

Following the removal of the tick, the STATS patient may suffer from episodes of skin-crawling sensations (also known as the “heebie-jeebies”). A more violent form of the heebie-jeebies, known as the “willies,” might cause the patient to leap suddenly from a seated position and begin tearing at their clothing, in fear that there is another tick somewhere on their body. Also, do not be surprised if the patient desires to immediately launder (or perhaps burn) any garments, bedding, pets, relatives, etc., that could possibly be housing another tick. This is normal behavior following such an experience.

There is no formal treatment for STATS, but caregivers of patients are advised to be gentle with sufferers following an attack. Mocking, teasing, or accusations that the patient is being “too much of a drama queen” generally will not aid the patient in their recovery, and might cause feelings of bitterness in the patient. Caregivers are advised to be kind to the patient; offer supportive words and a tender hug; and provide the patient with a “treat” such as chocolate, ice cream, or cake, and perhaps an alcoholic beverage. This type of offering will typically go a long way toward improving the patient’s overall disposition. The treatment phase of STATS can be expected to last a few hours, but patients may continue to exhibit some symptoms of this illness for a few days up to a couple of weeks. In rare cases, patients who were severely traumatized might continue to suffer the willies and/or the heebie-jeebies throughout the summer months, when STATS is most common.

(Editor’s note: The neutrality of this article cannot be confirmed. It should be noted that the author is a multiple-episode STATS sufferer, with the most recent incident occurring only two days ago. It should also be noted that the author’s spouse not only refrained from mocking, but actually performed the removal of the tick, since the author was far too wigged out to do it herself. He’s a real gem.)


cardiogirl said...

Finally, a name for this syndrome!

Thankfully I've never come face-to-face with a tick but I shall now enter into the summer months experienced phantom symptoms. I guess that means I need to load up on chocolate from Costco.

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, gross. I've never suffered from STATS, thank goodness, but after reading this, I think I'm going to be imagining that ticks are EVERYwhere! Yikes! What was that? *brushes clothes frantically

absepa said...

cardiogirl: I think that's a smart strategy. Even if you don't encounter a tick this summer, chocolate can cure any number of ills.

JD: It really is gross. I hate to be a wimp, but I get pretty freaked out about bugs. I recommend that you follow cardiogirl's plan and stock up on chocolate--it might cure freak-outs from imaginary ticks, too.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately here in the city, we don't have them. however, we visit the country a lot of weekends and they've been out since February and it was still cold! I hate those fierce little buggers!

absepa said...

suzicate: Apparently the ticks around here aren't too particular, because we live in the city and they seem to be thriving. I'm hoping that will be my last run-in for this year.