Friday, August 26, 2011

Paris Syndrome

Paris syndrome is a transient psychological disorder encountered by some people visiting or vacationing in Paris. It is similar in nature to Jerusalem syndrome and Stendhal syndrome.

Japanese visitors are observed to be especially susceptible. From the estimated six million yearly visitors the number of reported cases is significant: according to an administrator at the Japanese embassy in France, around twenty Japanese tourists a year are affected by the syndrome. The susceptilibity of Japanese people may be linked to the popularity of Paris in Japanese culture, notably the idealized image of Paris prevalent in Japanese media, which does not correspond to reality.

Paris Syndrome is characterized by a number of psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution (delusions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, or hostility from others), derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, etc.

In fact, the observed clinical picture is quite variable, but it has the characteristic of occurring during trips which confront travellers with things they have not previously experienced and had not anticipated. Principal to the diagnosis is that the experienced symptoms did not exist before the trip and disappear following a return to the sufferer's familiar surroundings.

Professor Hiroaki Ota, a Japanese psychiatrist working in France, is credited as the first person to diagnose the disease in 1986.

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