Pararibulitis is a nerve condition that affects some of the main characters on TV series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency but is it a real disease? Dirk Gently is based on the 1987 novel by acclaimed author Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy). The book follows the title "holistic detective" who believes in the principle of quantum mechanics and that everything in the universe is interconnected, and uses that to solve crimes instead of looking for actual clues. The book is a mash-up of comedy, sci-fi and Adams' own distinct style.
The book was first adapted by the BBC in 2010, with Stephen Mangan (Rush) playing the title character. While the series received good reviews, it only lasted four episodes before being canceled in 2012. The book received another adaptation with 2016's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, where Samuel Barnett played the titular character while Elijah Wood (The Lord Of The Rings), Fiona Dourif, and Hannah Marks co-starred. The show captured the book's strange blending of genres and manic energy and attracted a loyal fan following as a result.
In spite of Dirk Gently's growing cult fandom, the series was canceled by BBC America in 2017 following the season 2 finale. Despite attempts to find the show a new home and a fan petition for a third season attracting over 100,000 signatures, another series is looking unlikely. One major subplot in Dirk Gently is the condition affecting Todd's (Elijah Wood) sister Amanda, which is a nerve disease dubbed Pararibulitis.
Pararibulitis is a fictional condition that causes sufferers to experience vivid, painful hallucinations. For example, Amanda might imagine she's being engulfed in flames, which feels real to her but it's just a hallucination. Amanda rarely leaves her home because of this, since a flare-up can be completely unpredictable. These attacks are caused by the brain overreacting to certain stimuli, like a cold breeze making the afflicted feel like they're suffering from frostbite.
Pararibulitis is a hereditary condition, and Todd used to fake having it when he was younger to scam his parents but was later riddled with guilt when Amanda was struck by the disease. In Dirk Gently's season 1 finale Todd himself is hit by the disease, imagining his skin being burned by acid, and struggles with it throughout season 2.
While Pararibulitis itself is a fictional disease, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency received positive reviews for portraying characters suffering from a chronic illness and how it impacts their life.