Can Alpha Herpes Viruses Affect Our Mental Health?

digital illustration of herpes virus

What are Alpha herpes viruses? 

There are many different types of herpes virus, though, only 8 are known to routinely infect humans. Alpha herpes viruses (alphaherpesvirinae) belong to a subfamily of the herpes virus family (herpesviridae). They include:  

  • Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) 
  • Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2) 
  • Varicella zoster virus (VZV) 

This particular group of viruses have a very short replicative cycle of just a few hours, meaning that they can reproduce more quickly than other viruses. They also have a broad range of host tissues that they can infect. 


How are these viruses transmitted? 

Herpes simplex viruses are spread through close contact with an infected individual. HSV1 is usually transmitted orally, while HSV2 is spread through the genitals. VZV tends to be spread between individuals through droplets in the air and is highly contagious. 


How is an alpha herpes virus diagnosed? 

As with almost all other herpes viruses, alpha viruses need to be cultured and isolated to confirm whether or not someone has an infection. 


What effect can they have on physical health? 

Herpes simplex viruses can be manifested in the form of gum and mouth inflammation (gingivostomatitis) and painful lesions on the fingers and thumbs (dermal whitlows). These viruses can also cause infection of the cornea or the genitals. In extreme cases, infection can spread to the brain, causing encephalitis. If encephalitis does develop, this condition has a high fatality rate, though survivors may be left with lasting health problems.  

Varicella zoster virus causes chicken pox the first time a person is infected with it; when a person catches this virus for the second time, it is usually in the form of shingles, which causes nerve pain and a rash with blisters on the skin. 

After an initial infection seems to have faded, the virus lies dormant in the ganglia (nerve clusters) until it is reactivated, causing new symptoms. 


What effect can they have on mental health? 

People who suffer from encephalitis after a HSV1 infection can be left with neurological and behavioural abnormalities. They tend to also be more likely to develop severe mental disorders called psychoses. 

However, mental health impacts of alpha herpes viruses are not limited to just those who develop encephalitis. These effects can occur even if the person didn’t have a severe initial reaction to the viral infection. A summary of various scientific studies concluded that there are significant connections between certain viruses and mental health problems. They found that the presence of a herpes simplex virus or varicella zoster virus may contribute towards anxiety and depression. Given that VZV is a very common virus to come into contact with, there could be potential for many people to experience these effects. 

One scientific study found a link between exposure to the HSV1 virus and cognitive impairment, particularly in individuals already coping with schizophrenia or other psychiatric issues such as bipolar disorder. Symptoms of schizophrenia were found to be worse in those with chronic herpes exposure. It was also found that treatment with anti-herpes drugs actually lessened the severity of symptoms associated with schizophrenia. A lower level of cognitive ability was also found in individuals without an existing psychiatric condition but who had experienced a herpes virus. 


What is the current treatment? 

Three accepted antiviral drugs – acyclovir, valaciclovir and famciclovir – are available to treat this family of viruses. These medications are designed to help lessen the severity of symptoms and prevent the spread of this disease. However, there is no medication that can cure the condition. Alpha herpes viruses are simply treated symptomatically when a flare up occurs, but this does not eliminate the underlying infection. 

Bioresonance therapy can help to ameliorate symptoms of VSV by supporting the immune system, reducing stressors and encouraging detoxification. This treatment is more likely to be effective when combined with appropriate diet and lifestyle changes. 



Alpha herpes viruses can cause painful symptoms to develop in infected individuals but usually only have severe consequences in those who have a weak immune system. However, after the initial infection has faded, recurrences can occur and there may be long-term impacts of a person’s physical and mental health. Symptoms are usually treated through the use of anti-viral medication, though BICOM® bioresonance therapy can also be an effective aid.