26 Fukuoka schoolgirls fall ill; panic attack suspected

Kyodo, Staff Report

Twenty-six students at a girls high school in Fukuoka Prefecture became sick Monday in an apparent panic attack, prompting the school to close for the day.

It was not immediately clear what caused the students to fall ill.

According to Yanagawa High School, a private school in the city of Yanagawa, a first-year student suddenly shrieked in the middle of a class and fell down at about 10 a.m.

Two other students in the class fell into a similar state soon afterward, followed by students from other classes who came to check on the incident. Some of the students turned pale, though the exact cause of their sickness was not known.

The school let the 26 students go home and canceled all classes later in the day. It remained closed on Tuesday as well, an official said.

“We don’t know why such an incident happened, but we need to take good care of the students. I’ll talk to them more to find out what happened,” said Vice Principal Shigemitsu Mori.

Twitter and other social media were abuzz with unfounded rumors of the students “becoming possessed with evil spirits,” the Nishinippon Shimbun reported Tuesday. The students got well soon afterward, according to the paper.

Psychiatrist Rika Kayama said students in adolescence can feel excessive tension and anxiety, which are highly contagious, and added that the group panic attack might have been triggered by occultism.

“The only thing you can do (to avoid the recurrence of such incidents) is to distance yourself from people and topics that triggered such incidents. Rumors spread quickly in today’s society, through Twitter and other means, raising the possibility of panic attacks,” Kayama said.

  • The root of mass hysteria is the arousal of the human capacity for dissociation. People of different beliefs and fears are of different levels of susceptibility to disassociation. Psychiatrist Rika Kayama warns us, “The only thing you can do (to avoid the recurrence of such incidents) is to distance yourself from people and topics that triggered such incidents. ”

    And yet, often the trigger to dissociation and then a panic attack is an intense anxiety about the state of one’s own life. Evasion will do no good in that situation, doctor. You can’t expect that to change without self-motivated action.

    If the anxiety is based on “what others will think” when some situation has arisen or some rumor has been spread, then one has no direct control over the thoughts of others and one’s inner-state tends to destabilize. People who feel and exercise less control over their own life are more likely to experience dissociation, and once that has been affected, what is now called “conversion disorder” (although I do not consider it a “disorder” in the sense of something that simply “happens” to you) can take hold. People like that are then more vulnerable to mass hysteria.

    The remedy is to challenge the underlying premise: that one has, ultimately, chosen to elevate the minds and judgement of others over one’s own independent judgement. In other words, one’s attempt to grasp the group’s barometer, or the other person’s judgment, and conform to it. While we can excuse children for this behavior, we have to wonder about what leads them to be this way; of what their conditions are and what social rules they live under that precipitant this vulnerable self-image.

    None of this is to say that people who are more self-defined and reality-oriented, rather than other-oriented, are immune to dissociation. Everyone has their compartmentalized fears, and those weaknesses can come out as dissociation, given a trigger in the right stressful situation. But it is to say that the more self-actualized and reality-oriented one is, the less one is prone to hysteria.

  • qwerty

    just another little warning of how nutty THE GROUP is here