Twitching Disease the Result of Stress

VINTON, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health determined Nov. 19 the cause for the twitching symptoms at William Byrd High School are stress related.

After studying the symptoms, officials determined that those affected by the disease were not physically sick. Instead, they were experiencing “mass sociogenic illness” also known as “mass psychogenic illness.”

According to school officials, 10 people, including one teacher, said they had seizure-like symptoms. Early on, health officials believed that the cause was stress-related, but declined to comment on the possibility until Nov. 19.

After two weeks of interviewing the affected people and checking their medical records, health officials determined that the patients were not physically sick. They then shared the information with the patients and their families.

During the two weeks, parents were afraid that the school was unsafe, which resulted in environmental tests being taken at the school. However, reports showed that there was nothing unusual.

Since receiving the new information, the school has only had 81 absences out of roughly 1,200 students. The week of Nov. 9, absences were up to 300, according to Superintendent Lorraine Lange.

Academic studies indicate that young women who are living with pent-up stress are often affected by sociogenic illnesses. The 10 people who reported being ill were all female.

In order for the symptoms to disappear, the person affected must find ways to deal with stress.

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