We’ve already discussed the widespread panic that a zombie outbreak will likely cause. Now a study in the journal Epidemiology finds that reports of extreme disaster can actually lead to sickness on a mass scale.
Psychogenic illness is a phenomenon whereby people experience medical problems despite having no damage to their physical body. And we’re not just talking about a headache. Symptoms include paralysis, loss of consciousness, and even blindness.
Vaughan Bell, Ph.D. explains:
“They appear in many forms, most spectacularly in what is now diagnosed as conversion disorder, where people can be, to all intents and purposes, blind or paralysed without having any damage to their eyes or nervous system.”
Bell points out that more than 30% of neurological patients have symptoms that are only somewhat explained by physical condition. Imagine what that number will be when the dead rise.
Furthermore, psychogenic illness causes a chain reaction of symptoms that rapidly appear in groups of people. In a zombie plague, this social contagion can leave large swaths of the population unable to defend themselves against the undead.