Twisted Cities: 10 Places That Are Synonymous With Mental Disorders (2023)

Twisted Cities: 10 Places That Are Synonymous With Mental Disorders (1)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Ruland Collection

Everyone knows about Stockholm Syndrome, when hostages bond with their kidnappers. But who knows its two opposites? Lima syndrome is when the hostageclientthey begin to sympathize with the hostages. And in the London Syndrome, hostages fight with their captors, often with fatal results.

A total of ten cities around the world carry a unique burden: they have a mental disorder that bears their name. In itedition september 2014Names, the journal of the American Name Society, Ernest Lawrence Abel listed and described them. He classified them into three categories: four related to tourism, three related to hostage-taking and three "other."

jerusalem syndrome

First reported in the 1930s, Jerusalem syndrome affects about 100 visitors each year. About 40 of them have to be hospitalized. Symptoms usually go away a few weeks after the visit. With an exclusively religious focus, this syndrome manifests itself as the illusion that the subject is an important biblical figure. Examples from the past include people who believed themselves to be Mary, Moses, John the Baptist, and even Jesus himself.

In the end, those affected preach and shout in the street and warn passersby of the nearness of the end times and the need for salvation. Some are often obsessed with physical cleanliness, shaving all body hair, showering repeatedly, or compulsively trimming their fingernails and toenails.

The Jerusalem Syndrome mainly affects Christians, but also Jews, with some obvious differences. For example, Christians often see themselves as New Testament figures, while Jews tend to impersonate Old Testament figures.

Paris syndrome

This syndrome was first reported in 2004 and mainly affects first-time visitors to Japan. On average, 12 cases are reported each year, the majority in people in their 30s. Patients suffer symptoms such as anxiety, delusions (even believing that their hotel room has been tampered with or that they are Louis XIV, the "Sun King" of France) and hallucinations.

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Why does the Paris Syndrome mainly affect Japanese tourists? Maybe it's jet lag. Or could it be the shocking confrontation of theFirstIdeal Parisian, so exotic and friendly to the slightly rougher nature of the city dwellers. Or the high level of linguistic misunderstandings between Japanese visitors and their Parisian hosts. Maybe a little (or rather, a lot) of all these things together.

The problem is so important that the Japanese embassy in Paris operates a 24-hour hotline to help affected compatriots find the right care. Most patients improve after a few days of rest. Some are so affected that the only known treatment is to return to Japan immediately.

Florence syndrome

This syndrome was first reported in the 1980s and has been observed more than 100 times since then and mainly affects western European tourists between the ages of 20 and 40. American visitors appear to be less affected. The syndrome is an acute reaction caused by the anticipation and subsequent experience of the cultural richness of the city. Patients are often transported directly from the Florence museums to the hospital.

Mild symptoms include rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, and hallucinations. However, around two thirds of those affected develop a paranoid psychosis. Most patients can go home after a few days of bed rest.

This condition is also known as "stendhal syndrome', in homage to the French author who described the phenomenon during his visit to Florence in 1817. Visiting the Basilica of Santa Croce, where Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Galileo are buried, he was "in a kind of ecstasy... where find heavenly sensations... I went there afraid of falling".

Venice syndrome

The Venice Syndrome describes the behavior of people who travel to Venice with the express intention of taking their own life in the city.

Between 1988 and 1995 alone, 51 foreign visitors were diagnosed as such. The subjects were men and women, but the largest group came from Germany. This may be due to cultural influences.death in venice, the last filmed novel by the German writer Thomas Mann. However, other members of the cohort came from the US, UK and France, among other countries. A total of 16 were successful in their suicide mission.

Research into this phenomenon, primarily through interviews with the 35 survivors, found that "in the collective imagination of the Romantics, the association of Venice with decline and decay was a recurring symbol."

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Twisted Cities: 10 Places That Are Synonymous With Mental Disorders (2)

Film poster for the film adaptation by Luchino Viscontideath in venice, con Dirk Bogarde. (Credit: Wikipedia / fair use)

Stockholm syndrome

Three related urban syndromes are associated with hostage situations, most prominently in the Swedish capital. According to the article ofNames, about one in four people who are abused, kidnapped or taken hostage develop an emotional attachment or a sense of loyalty to their kidnappers or perpetrators. Some even begin to actively cooperate, crossing the line from victim to perpetrator.

This syndrome was first named after a bank hostage robbery in Stockholm in the summer of 1973. The robbers held four bank employees hostage for six days. The hostages were tied to dynamite and locked in a safe. After the attackers' negotiated surrender, the hostages said they were more afraid of the police, collected money to defend the kidnappers and refused to testify against them. One of the hostages even got engaged to one of his kidnappers.

In 1974, the newly coined term was used in reference to Patty Hearst. Kidnapped and abused by the Symbionese Liberation Army, the teenage heiress, however, switched sides, eventually helping them rob a bank.

Lima syndrome

The lesser known Lima Syndrome describes the polar opposite of Stockholm Syndrome, that is, kidnappers develop positive bonds with their hostages. The name refers to a crisis in the Peruvian capital in December 1996, when members of the Tupac Amaru revolutionary movement took 600 guests hostage at the Japanese embassy.

The kidnappers were so empathetic to the guests that they let most of them go in a matter of days, including high-profile figures like the mother of the then Peruvian president. After four months of lengthy negotiations, all but one of the hostages were released. The crisis was resolved after a special forces attack that killed two hijackers and a commando.

london syndrome

The London syndrome has been described as the opposite of the Stockholm and Lima syndromes, as it involves the kidnappers developing negative feelings towards their hostages. In fact, the London Syndrome more accurately describes a situation in which hostages cause their own death at the hands of their captors by angering, arguing or challenging them, or by attempting to escape.

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The name comes from the 1981 siege of the Iranian embassy in London, during which one of the 26 hostages repeatedly fought with his captors, despite the pleas of the others. When the kidnappers decided to kill one of their hostages to meet their demands, they shot the curmudgeonly hostage and dumped his body in the street.

The execution prompted an armed police intervention that killed more hostages.

Twisted Cities: 10 Places That Are Synonymous With Mental Disorders (3)

The hostage crisis that took place in this Norrmalmstorg building in 1973 coined the term "Stockholm Syndrome." The bank was long ago replaced by a luxury clothing store, but the vaults are still there. (Credit: Holger Ellgaard / SpeedyLook encyclopediaCC BY-SA 3.0)

Amsterdam syndrome

The three syndromes in the Other category refer only metaphorically to the city of the same name.

Amsterdam Syndrome refers to the behavior of men who share nude photos of their wives or of themselves having sex with their wives without their consent. The term is believed to refer to Amsterdam's red-light district, where prostitutes are displayed behind windows.

Twisted Cities: 10 Places That Are Synonymous With Mental Disorders (4)

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This name was coined by a sexologist at La Sapienza University in Italy and was first published at a 2008 European Federation of Sexology conference in Rome. At the time of writing this article, the syndrome had not been adequately studied. It was mainly used to describe Italian men who posted these images on the internet.

Brooklyn Syndrome

This term was coined during World War II by naval psychiatrists who noted certain traits and behavior patterns in a segment of men recruited for military service. At first, these features were considered psychopathology. Because they are so common, they were ultimately identified as being linked to the hometowns of the men involved: cities where, due to specific cultural circumstances, the male personality inherently tends to be overly argumentative or personally combative.

detroit syndrome

Detroit Syndrome is a form of ageism in which workers of a certain age are replaced by younger, faster and stronger ones, not to mention equipped with new skills better suited to the modern workplace. . First reported in 2011, the syndrome takes its name from Detroit and specifically its reputation as a hub of auto manufacturing, where newer models regularly replace older ones.

check thecomplete articleNOEdition June 2014VonNames, the quarterly magazine of onomasticsAmerican name company.

Did the newspaper gloss over other “city syndromes” or have new ones been named since then?let us know.

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