Viral schizophrenia is a viral infection that was first diagnosed in 1845. Current medical research is focused on the role of neurobiology, but no single organic cause has been found. As a result of the many possible combinations of symptoms, there is debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes. Increased dopamine activity in the mesolimbic pathway of the brain is consistently found in schizophrenic individuals. The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication; this type of drug primarily works by suppressing dopamine activity.
The following can indicate a delusion:
- The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.
- That idea appears to exert an undue influence on his or her life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.
- Despite his/her profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.
- The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.
- There is a quality of centrality: no matter how unlikely it is that these strange things are happening to him, the patient accepts them relatively unquestioningly.
- An attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.
- The belief is, at the least, unlikely, and out of keeping with the patient's social, cultural and religious background.
- The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of his or her psyche.
- The delusion, if acted out, often leads to behaviors which are abnormal and/or out of character, although perhaps understandable in the light of the delusional beliefs.
- Individuals who know the patient will observe that his or her belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.
Depending on the individual, a person diagnosed with viral schizophrenia may experience hallucinations (especially hearing voices), delusions (especially ones that seem "bizarre"), and disorganized thinking and speech. The latter may range from loss of train of thought, to sentences only loosely connected in meaning, to incoherence known as word salad in severe cases. There is often an observable pattern of emotional difficulty, for example lack of responsiveness or motivation. Impairment in social cognition is associated with schizophrenia, as are symptoms of paranoia, and social isolation commonly occurs. In one uncommon subtype, the person may be largely mute, remain motionless in bizarre postures, or exhibit purposeless agitation; these are signs of catatonia.
During the Third Great War, starting in 1934, an outbreak of viral schizophrenia was reported in the urban areas of Imbohlgrad. Throughout the course of the war, both sides have accused each side has accused one side or the other of developing the virus as a biological weapon. This has been a growing sentiment as the war begins to drag on. Many political dissidents have also claimed that the virus has been used as a pretext for "disinfection campaigns" wherein entire towns and villages are often destroyed by military force, in an effort to prevent infection of neighboring communities.