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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

emotions and syndromes .... of Paris syndrome ........ & Stockholm syndrome

Chennai (aka Madras) is rude – some visitors say ... people say that they are daunted by fleecing auto-rickshaws and verbal taunts ... there are some cities which are elegantly lazy ! The adjective ‘Stroppy” means : bad or ill-tempered, belligerent, or touchy.   We hear of many syndromes (this post is on Paris Syndrome – concluding on Stockholm syndrome)......... a syndrome, in medicine and psychology, is the collection of signs and symptoms that are observed in, and characteristic of, a single condition. In medical genetics, a syndrome refers specifically to medical condition where the underlying genetic cause has been identified, and the collection of symptoms is pathogenetically related. Down syndrome is example of medical genetics.  Syndromes are often named after the physician or group of physicians that discovered them or initially described the full clinical picture.

By some measure, the likelihood of rude reception from locals determines the claim to (ill)fame of rude city.  – people may treat badly; local driver might blithely cut one off in traffic or one gets rude comment / treatment on the face at a restaurant or in a public place by the surly attendant.  Sometime back, Foursquare compiled a list of the 20 rudest cities in the World based on the percentage of curse words used in check-in recommendations. It looked at English speaking countries (only) and hence some cities you know may not be in the list.  Of the top 20,  whopping 18 are in the US.  The crowned glory was Manchester, of which i am posting a different one – just in time before the Test Match at Old Trafford.  It was surprising for some in US that Manhattan did not make the list, although Staten Island, the only New York borrough to be on the list came in at 17--beating Boston by two slots. The top 10 rudest cities were : 1. Manchester, U.K; 2. El Paso, Texas; 3. Pittsburgh, Pa; 4. Bloomington, Ind; 5. Riverside, Ca; 6. Tempe, Ariz; 7. Scottsdale, Ariz; 8. Portland, Oregon; 9. Venice, Ca; 10. Orange, Ca.

BBC today writes of Paris Syndrome afflicting Japanese..... it is a transient psychological disorder encountered by some individuals visiting or vacationing in Paris, France or elsewhere in Western Europe. It is characterized by a number of psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution, derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, and others. The problem is a real one as evidenced by the 24 hour help line run by the Japanese embassy to help Japanese tourists suffering from this condition. The embassy reports that on average twelve people suffer from this disorder annually.

It was first noted in Nervure, the French journal of psychiatry in 2004. The authors of the article, in the 2012 French psychiatry journal Nervure, cite the following as contributory factors: Language barrier; cultural difference; idealised image of Paris; exhaustion......... as it could happen elsewhere, the reality of Paris does not always live up to the dream.  BBC states that a dozen or so Japanese tourists a year have to be repatriated from the French capital, after falling prey to what's become known as "Paris syndrome". Polite Japanese tourists suffer when they discover that Parisians can be rude or the city does not meet their expectations. The experience can apparently be too stressful for some and they suffer a psychiatric breakdown. Many of the visitors come with a deeply romantic vision of Paris - the cobbled streets, as seen in the film Amelie, the beauty of French women or the high culture and art at the Louvre. An encounter with a rude taxi driver, or a Parisian waiter who shouts at customers who cannot speak fluent French, might be laughed off by those from other Western cultures – those disappoint the Japanese often used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in ange.   Though the Japanese embassy’s 24-hour hotline provides hospital treatment – the  permanent cure is to go back to Japan - never to return to Paris. 
              
Away, Stockholm syndrome is different – also known as capture-bonding,  it is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes "strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other." The Freudian theory suggests that the bonding is the individual's response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

5th Aug 2014.

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