Understanding the Stockholm Syndrome Phenomenon

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Understanding the Stockholm Syndrome Phenomenon
Understanding the Stockholm Syndrome Phenomenon

Stockholm syndrome or Stockholm syndrome is a psychological disorder in hostage victims that makes them feel sympathy or even love for the perpetrator. How did this happen?

Stockholm syndrome was introduced by a criminologist, Nils Bejerot, based on the 1973 bank robbery case in Stockholm, Sweden. In this case, the hostages actually formed an emotional bond with the perpetrators even though they had been held captive for 6 days.

Understanding the Stockholm Syndrome Phenomenon - Alodokter

The hostages even refused to testify in court and instead raised legal aid funds to defend the perpetrators.

Factors Underlying the Occurrence of Stockholm Syndrome

In a hostage-taking, the hostages will generally feel hate and fear because the perpetrators or kidnappers are often violent, even cruel. However, in the case of Stockholm syndrome, the opposite is true. The victims actually feel sympathy for the perpetrators.

There are several factors that underlie the emergence of Stockholm syndrome, including:

  • The hostage taker and victim are in the same room and under the same pressure
  • The hostage situation lasted quite a long time, even several days
  • The hostage-taker showed kindness to the hostages or at least refrained from harming them

Psychologists suspect that Stockholm syndrome is a victim's way of dealing with excessive stress or trauma caused by hostage-taking.

However, research shows that Stockholm syndrome does not only apply to hostage situations, but can also occur in certain situations, such as child abuse, abuse between coaches and athletes, abusive relationships, and sex trafficking.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome

Like other syndromes, Stockholm syndrome also consists of a set of symptoms. Symptoms of this disorder in general are almost the same as the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Symptoms of Stockholm syndrome include:

  • Easily startled
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmare
  • Always suspicious
  • Feeling like you are not in reality
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Always reminiscing about the trauma (flashback)
  • No longer enjoying previously enjoyable experiences
  • Negative feelings towards family or friends trying to save him
  • Always support everything the hostage taker does

How to Treat Stockholm Syndrome

There is no special treatment for people with Stockholm syndrome. However, the psychiatrist will use some of the methods commonly used to deal with traumatic situations, such as prescribing antianxiety drugs to deal with the anxiety you are experiencing.

In addition, psychotherapy will also be carried out to treat Stockholm syndrome. In psychotherapy, sufferers will be taught to cope with their traumatic experiences.

The ultimate goal of all treatment for Stockholm syndrome is to make sufferers aware that all they feel for the perpetrator is a method of self-defense.

Stockholm syndrome is an uncommon condition that is often experienced by victims of hostage-taking. If you or your family and relatives have symptoms of Stockholm syndrome, try to consult a psychiatrist so that they can be given the right treatment.

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