Not commonly talked about and often misunderstood, this illness is unlike other illnesses and yet similar to them - depending on who you ask. Shell shock is commonly referred to as an "illness of the core" type of defect. Despite the known suspected cases reaching as far back as the machines' history, none have been "officially" confirmed. Contemporary diagnoses are common, but TRVs tend to be hesitant with issuing them. If in any way possible, they attempt giving a less "severe" diagnosis instead and suggest treatments like "sleeping it off" or "changing thought patterns". Only when no recovery is in sight and/or the symptoms are very debilitating, the diagnosis of shell shock is given.
The general consensus of the presence among medical professionals is that further research must be conducted before we can say with certainty what kind of illness we are dealing with; if any at all.
It is believed that the shockwaves of nearby explosions and the impacts from shells damage the AI core. Very often, the shell shock behaviours are observed in victims of large-scale artillery attacks.
Victims of shell shock can display symptoms in varying severity. Two types of symptoms are recognized: acute shell shock and chronic shell shock. Acute symptoms can be observed immediately or shortly after the triggering events, and typically don't last for a long time. Chronic symptoms may develop later and become permanent behaviors.
- acute symptoms: extreme confusion, panicked speech, erratic movements, freezing, flight, muteness
- chronic symptoms: loss of memories, reclusiveness, sudden bouts of panic, insomnia, nightmares, hostility
No effective treatment for this condition is known. Usually, soldiers who display the acute behaviours are kept away from any further fighting until they show signs of recovery. When machines display the chronic behaviours, they often end up as outcasts.
Shell shock is usually included in medical compendiums and guides, but only in a very rudimentary form, or even just a footnote; its causes and effects are still poorly documented.