Psychological symptoms that occur in some persons in a captive or hostage situation is referred to as Stockholm syndrome. It has established extensive media publicity in recent years because it has been used to clarify the behavior of such well-known kidnapping victims as Patty Hearst (1974) and Elizabeth Smart (2002). It’s name is from a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, in August 1973. The robber took four employees of the bank (three women and one man) into the vault with him and kept back them hostage for 131 hours. After the employees were finally unconstrained, they appeared to have formed a ironic emotional bond with their captor; they told reporters that they saw the police as their opponent rather than the bank robber, and that they had affirmative feelings toward the criminal. The syndrome was first named by Nils Bejerot (1921–1988), a medical professor who specialized in addiction research and served as a psychiatric consultant to the Swedish police during the standoff at the bank and now Stockholm syndrome is also known as Survival Identification Syndrome.
Critics say that the fundamental principles of the so-called syndrome is seen in a diversity of situations, such as domestic violence and abuse, and that it cannot be classified as a mental disorder. In cases of domestic violence, oftentimes the abused partner feels a sense of dependency towards the abuser, and stays with him or her while being abused, sometimes even shielding and lying about the situation to others; they might have compassion and ignore the abusive behavior, rather than being angry and sad about it. The Stockholm syndrome is known by other names such as trauma bonding or terror bonding; however, this syndrome is not often seen in captive scenarios, and its diagnostic criteria are not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
Treatment of Stockholm syndrome is combination of medications for short-term sleep disturbances and psychotherapy for the longer-term symptoms.
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