Saturday, November 7, 2015


Stockholm Syndrome, also known as Survival Identification Syndrome, refers to a group of psychological symptoms that occur in some persons in a hostage situation.  Experts do not agree on the factors that make some people more susceptible to developing it than others. Not all hostages are affected.  It is a complex reaction to a frightening situation.  Many researchers believe that Stockholm Syndrome not only helps to explain certain behaviors of persons taken hostage but also, survivors of WWII concentration camps, members of religious cults, battered wives, incest survivors and physically or emotionally abused children.  The term, Stockholm Syndrome, comes from a bank robbery that happened in Stockholm, Sweden in August 1973.  Four employees spent 131 hours in a vault with the robber.  After they were released, they seemed to have bonded emotional with their captor.  They told reporters they had positive feelings toward the criminal and the police were their enemy, not the robber.  Three factors that are necessary for the development of the syndrome.  The crisis lasts for a long period of time and the hostage takers do not harm their captives.  The hostages are in contact with the criminal because they are not placed in a different room.  The hostages are shown kindness by their captors. The central characteristics of the syndrome are: The hostages have positive feelings toward their captives and negative feelings toward the police. Also, if the captors have positive feelings for their hostages. When being evaluating for Stockholm Syndrome, most psychiatrists use the criteria for acute stress disorder or post traumatic stress disorder.  The treatment for this syndrome is the same for PTSD.  Medications for short-term sleep disturbances and psychotherapy for the longer term symptoms.  Several variables determine the length of time for treatment.  For example, the patient's coping skills and any past traumas.  Also, how long the crisis lasted and the individual situation itself.  In general, the prognosis for recovery is good. 

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