You’ve Heard Of “Stockholm Syndrome”

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That's the psychological defense mechanism where a hostage begins to sympathize with the hostage-taker after a bit of time. It seems there is an almost diametrically opposed syndrome just being identified. It is one where people recoil with revulsion when they find out that the reality of a famous tourist destination is nothing like the mental image they had. Instead of a beautiful, elegant city of dreams, they find a scruffy place filled with surly people.

Meet "Paris Syndrome".

PARIS (Reuters) – Around a dozen Japanese tourists a year need psychological treatment after visiting Paris as the reality of unfriendly locals and scruffy streets clashes with their expectations, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

"A third of patients get better immediately, a third suffer relapses and the rest have psychoses," Yousef Mahmoudia, a psychologist at the Hotel-Dieu hospital, next to Notre Dame cathedral, told the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

Already this year, Japan's embassy in Paris has had to repatriate at least four visitors — including two women who believed their hotel room was being bugged and there was a plot against them.

Previous cases include a man convinced he was the French "Sun King", Louis XIV, and a woman who believed she was being attacked with microwaves, the paper cited Japanese embassy official Yoshikatsu Aoyagi as saying.

"Fragile travellers can lose their bearings. When the idea they have of the country meets the reality of what they discover it can provoke a crisis," psychologist Herve Benhamou told the paper.

The phenomenon, which the newspaper dubbed "Paris Syndrome", was first detailed in the psychiatric journal Nervure in 2004.

Those wacky French. Now we know that exposure to French reality can cause mental problems. Which explains Jacques Chirac at last.

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