Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Around the World in 9 Mental Illnesses

Posted By on Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Well, Summer is upon us and that means vacation season. Whether we choose to travel to a far flung destination or we opt for a two-week stint in The Republic of Backyardia; ultimately, we all enjoy a change of pace once and a while.

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Some of us suffer from dromomania which makes us compulsively need to travel even under tremendous physical and mental duress. Others are afflicted by a romantically motivated wanderlust which compels us to experience new surroundings and vistas. While still others passively contemplate the “grass is always greener” principle from the safety of their living room. Whatever category you most associate yourself with the reality is that we all share a fascination about geographical places which are dissimilar and or in contrast to our own. However, if this delightful mental exercise is left unchecked and unabated it might spawn a whole host of mental illnesses. Afford yourself some time to do some background investigation before embarking on vacation or tucking into a cheeky bit of travel literature or nestling down in the sofa to watch that on-demand travel documentary. Your mental health depends on it. The list compiled here has 6 clinically legitimate syndromes all bearing the name of a geographical location. The temptation was too insurmountable not to concoct a few fictitious ones in the process.

Stockholm Syndrome: is the psychological phenomenon whereby a hostage develops sympathy and perhaps empathy for those who are the captors. Occasionally the hostage will become virulent in defense of those who are holding him captive. Of course this syndrome has been unnamed for millennia; only in the last century has it emerged as a catch-all category for capture-bonding. Various forms of capture-bonding include, fraternal hazing, military basic training and battered-wife syndrome (verbal/physical). It might be a psychological underpinning of sexual bondage role playing.

Jerusalem Syndrome: is a form of temporary psychosis which befalls religious visitors to Jerusalem. Prior to visiting these people were assumed to be psychologically stable. Although the name denotes a holy city of 3 major monotheistic religions (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) it can also be applied to various religions whereby a pilgrimage has taken place. The syndrome is noted by those who are afflicted with it as having delusions, hysteria and or psychotic episodes steeped in religious motifs. Once the person who has being affected by the syndrome is removed from the stimuli he/she is expected to make a speedy and full recovery.

Florence Syndrome: dizziness, tachycardia, hallucinations, fainting, disassociation. It is a syndrome also know under a variety of names; Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal's syndrome, or hyperkulturemia. Although currently regarded as a psychosomatic illness it is depicted as a debilitating sensory overload of someone who has been exposed to overwhelming beauty; most notably visual art. The Florentine art museum, from which one of the nomenclatures is derived, provides the prerequisites for the illness: many culturally defined beautiful works of art in a single common locale.

Paris Syndrome: delusions, hallucinations, dizziness, tachycardia, fugue, depression, anxiety, feeling of persecution and many more symptoms associated with psychosomatic attributes of the illness. The syndrome is generally associated with Japanese tourists visiting the French capital city. Due to the fact that the Japanese sufferers are on vacation, the mental illness is seen to be transient in nature. Although the basis of the syndrome is psychotic the psychosomatic impetus is much clearer. The language obstacle between French and Japanese in conjunction with the discrepancies in societal norms would indicate that those afflicted with Paris syndrome are experiencing a classic form of culture shock.

Lima Syndrome: is considered to be the antithesis of Stockholm syndrome. Lima syndrome is, thus, a situation whereby the captors garner sympathy for the people they are holding hostage. It received its name from Lima, Peru where the Japanese Embassy was stormed and held captive by a militant organization for a couple of hours before releasing the hostages.

Arctic Hysteria: wild screaming, histrionics, depression, coprophagia and echolalia.
The syndrome is also known as piblokto or pibloktoq in the Arctic circle which is the primary locale of the illness. The mental illness occurs almost exclusively within the Inughuit communities of the arctic circle and is most prevalent with Inughuit women. By the fact that the disease is culturally isolated it necessarily lends itself to identifying an external variable for the cause of the syndrome. A hypothesized culprit might be Vitamin A toxicity. The syndrome has been documented most often in the winter when the Inughuit peoples are consuming large amounts of animal entrails and offal which contain high levels of Vitamin A. The syndrome has not fully been investigated scientifically which lead some scientists to conclude that the syndrome is a catch-all for a variety of illnesses.

Amsterdam Syndrome: hysteria, apraxia, hallucinations and characterized by a fugue state. Usually occurring within groups of Northern European stag and or hen parties visiting Amsterdam for a weekend. The illness has also been diagnosed in Southern Europeans but it much rarer. It can be triggered by but is not limited to massive doses of cannabis and alcohol while in the presence of perceived culturally repugnant sexual acts. Fortunately the symptoms are reversible and tend to dissipate after 48 hours of disassociation with the stimuli.

New York Syndrome: echolalia, dizziness, fatigue and tachycardia. A mental illness which is almost exclusive to American tourists visiting NYC from the plains states. Although it has been diagnosed in visitors from Illinois, Arkansas and Utah, the primary states from which the sufferers originate are Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The highest percentage, nearly 48%, of those visitors who succumb to New York syndrome are from Nebraska. The illness is brought on by a sudden acute agoraphobia due to the dense population of the city coupled with the unfamiliar nature of a vertical city instead of the horizontal cities to which they are accustomed. The illness is often exacerbated by an innate fear of being mugged and robbed by force.

Tokyo Syndrome: fatigue, mild epileptic seizures, dizziness, and hallucinations. The syndrome is used to describe Western tourists visiting one of Japan's large metropolitan cities; Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya or Sapporo. The western visitor is initially overwhelmed by the ubiquity of neon lighted advertizing signs which encompass the urban landscape. This is coupled with a feeling of anxiety of being heterogenous in a densely populated homogenous society. This anxiety can precipitate epileptic seizures. Despite being a rare phenomenon, these epileptic seizures have been documented to induce severe hallucinations.

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