Stockholm Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment: Being kept captive causes a psychological reaction known as Stockholm syndrome. People who suffer from Stockholm syndrome develop a psychological bond with their captors and start to feel sympathy for them. Stockholm syndrome now encompasses different traumas where there is a relationship between the abuser and the victim in addition to the basic kidnapper-hostage scenario.
Many medical specialists view the victim’s positive thoughts toward their abuser as a psychological reaction, or coping technique, that they employ to endure the trauma or abuse they have experienced for days, weeks, or even years.
Other psychological illnesses that are closely related include:
- Bonding over trauma.
- Learned to be powerless.
- Syndrome of the battered person.
Stockholm Syndrome Symptoms
Victims exhibit distinctive and distinctive behaviours. It is a unique and peculiar response that cannot be generalised. But because of the victim’s defensive mechanism, he acts in a way that leads him to mistakenly associate himself with his kidnapper. The victim is forced into a traumatic and stressful scenario that makes him appear passive-aggressive in front of the captor, prompting him to defend himself out of survival instinct.
It is important to remember that denying someone their freedom because someone else demands it places the victims in an unbalanced and unstable condition. They are put in an unclear situation, which makes the sufferer feel pain, anxiety, and terror. Since there are only two possible outcomes—rebel or accept it—and since rebellion can have unfavourable effects, Stockholm Syndrome is the least awful alternative.
The symptoms of this illness are one of the many emotional reactions that a person may exhibit as a result of their vulnerability and defencelessness as a result of captivity. It is a strange reaction, but one that must be recognised and understood because it has frequently been mischaracterised as an illness. Inability to recognise oneself as victims prior to what occurred and sentiments of sympathy for the captor after being liberated demonstrate the dissociation characteristic of this condition.
They frequently express gratitude to their captors for allowing them to survive the ordeal, for not acting violently toward them, and for having treated them well.
They see the world through the eyes of the Captor because they weren’t treated “cruelly” and because of the seclusion to which they have been subjected; after spending time together, they can even find mutual interests. He ultimately causes the victim to become emotionally dependent on him.
The family of those who have experienced captivity frequently worry excessively about this issue and many question if the person’s “illness” may be caused by feelings of gratitude toward the captor. If someone showed them kindness while they were being held captive, they will remember it especially because kindness is often appreciated in those situations.
Therefore, the victim’s inability to react to the aggressive circumstance in which they are found is a result of an unconscious defence mechanism designed to prevent an emotional shock.
He starts to develop a relationship with the aggressor and comes to understand him, empathise with him, and express compassion and pleasure. It needs to be made clear that this is something that the victim experiences, observes, and thinks is acceptable. It needs to be made clear that this is something that the victim experiences, observes, and thinks is acceptable.
The people around her are the ones who find it unreasonable when she expresses emotions or attitudes intended to explain and justify the actions of her captors. In some testimonies of captives who had been freed, gratitude was expressed toward the kidnappers because the circumstances in which they had been kept alive had allowed them to develop as humans, according to other authors (such as Meluk).
Although they did not explain or defend the reasons behind the kidnappers’ conduct, it allowed them to alter their personality and value system. It is crucial to stress that the victim’s ability to cover up is not a result of their concern for retaliation; rather, it is more typical of the affective, thank-you sphere.
In summary, even if specialists disagree on the defining criteria, most concur that there are a few traits that are must :
- Victim’s favourable attitudes toward their captors
- Victim’s negative attitudes toward the police or the authorities
- There ought to be some time between now and then.
- Victims and captors must communicate with one another
- The captors are kind to the captives or refrain from harming them.
Along with these symptoms, Stockholm Syndrome sufferers also experience concentration difficulties, increased alertness, a sensation of unreality, and anhedonia, which are comparable to those of PTSD patients.
Stockholm Syndrome Causes
Various researchers and thinkers have made an effort to throw light on and explain what takes on in these circumstances when, strangely, a relationship develops between a victim and his captor. It makes use of affective and emotional cues that are present during stressful circumstances. One of the key differences between a syndrome and an illness is that a syndrome is a collection of symptoms and signs that have been recorded but whose cause is unknown.
In this way, a warning and threat signal enters the victim’s brain and moves via the limbic system and amygdala, controlling the defence mechanisms. The victim resists the urge to survive when their freedom is taken away from them, their isolation is heightened, and they are subjected to an outsider’s wishes. In this sense, he has the advantage of not being considered a target for torture, cruel treatment, or murder due to the possibility of “seducing” or influencing his captor.
Other authors believe that in the victim’s instance, treating the perpetrator as an equal and not below him, through empathy and denying his Position, helps to express pity, so that in the case of needing to get rid of the victim, the captor feels bad about doing so.
For instance, according to authors like Dutton and Painter (1981), a battered woman forms a traumatised link with the perpetrator as a result of power imbalance and good-bad intermittency. In this sense, the ambiguity brought on by frequent and intermittent acts of violence can play a significant role in establishing the connection, but it is in no way the sole factor.
It is common knowledge that certain emotional states can cause triggers to manifest as recognisable feelings or actions. According to certain authors, some people are more prone to developing it than others, particularly the emotionally and socially insecure. Because of the circumstances in this case, the kidnapped victim’s captor is recognised as the result of the lived fear.
There are several circumstances in which the kidnappers commit acts in which they deprive other people—the victims—and subject them to things like a period of captivity. It is important to stress that there are no models that define or explain the aetiology or conformation of the Stockholm Syndrome from a psychopathological standpoint.
When the victim is freed, he can provide samples that demonstrate his syndrome, such as a strong identification with the captor, for example. We can single out the University of Cincinnati’s Graham group’s (1995) aspects of identification, which were evaluated using a scale of 49 items, as one of the few hypotheses discovered.
Cognitive distortions and coping mechanisms are proposed in relation to this evaluation. This allows for the detection of this syndrome’s symptoms. For instance, among young people who are victimised by their sentimental relationships. All of this is depicted in a scenario where the victim enters a “dissociative state” and denies acting violently and the possibility of the kidnapper forming an emotional connection with him.
It should be noted, though, that while it might hold true for some of the processes at play in the circumstance, it is by no means a conclusive theory or an explanation of the cause and character of the process. Therefore, we might speculate that the victim creates a cognitive mental model and an anchor to the setting that enables him to escape the event, regain their equilibrium, and be able to defend themselves against it (their psychological integrity). In this method, the sufferer creates a cognitive change that aids in adaptation.
Additionally, several prerequisites for the emergence of the Stockholm Syndrome are identified in order to lay the groundwork for an explanatory etiological model.
- It needs to be triggered by a Held hostage circumstance (It could exceptionally take place in small kidnapped groups).
- The victim must be introduced in a minimal environment where the kidnapper is the emergency reference. This is known as isolation of stimuli.
- Corpus Ideológico is viewed as beliefs and conceptions that are the subject of a specific political, religious, or societal discourse that motivates the kidnappers’ actions.
- The likelihood that the captive and Stockholm may be affected increases with the sophistication of the kidnapper.
- Let there be contact between the abductor and the victim so that the latter can understand the abductor’s motivation and start the process using the Which is associated with it.
- It depends on the resources the victim has access to, as the condition won’t manifest if the victim has effective internal control referents, coping mechanisms, or problem-solving techniques.
- In general, Stockholm Syndrome’s emergence will be less likely if the kidnapper uses violence.
- On the other hand, the victim must deal with initial expectations that their life is in danger, which gradually diminish as they move toward a contact he feels is more secure with the kidnapper.
Various specialists contend that the victim must not feel attacked, violated, or mistreated because if they do, a protective barrier forms that prevents them from identifying with their captors and accepting their excellent qualities. In accordance with this framework, the procedure goes through a number of steps. It begins with a kidnapping event and builds a model by which the victims’ psychological states alter or advance.
Due to the fact that no two persons will react the same way or be affected by all reactions in the same way or in the same order, it is important to take into consideration their unique qualities while constructing an explanatory hypothesis. As a result, the overall process can be split up into functional phases that roughly correspond to Selye’s description of the General Adaptation Syndrome.
Additionally, it is possible that the victim has a weak personality as well as bad behaviour. As a result, he is unable to address it because of the fear and sense of peril that has persisted since the kidnapping began, and everything proceeds as planned. Also, the victim could justify what happened by arguing for what occurred, defending the kidnapper, highlighting its merits, making judgements about social fairness, etc.
In short, two circumstances are required to recognise and diagnose the Stockholm Syndrome:
- That they unwittingly internalised a high level of identification with their captors’ attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs (almost as if Were their own).
- Even after the person has been released and you are going about your daily business and are aware that the captivity is over, you continue to express your gratitude and appreciation to the captors.
Stockholms Syndrome Treatment And Evaluation
In order to remember and rework the circumstance Consequences of that experience, as well as coping with the various protection systems that the person has set in place, sufferers of the Stockholm Syndrome require psychological and psychiatric care. practice.
It is important to take into account how the memory functions, which includes the fact that it is selective and that its tracks alter with time. It can be challenging to break free from your captor sometimes after you’ve been the victim for a while. The effects of the incident can be difficult for the person to recover from.
Given that the Stockholm Syndrome is not a diagnostic category, as we have already mentioned, we refer to it as a descriptive term and a way of acting in the face of a stressful and traumatic event. When tested, many of the specialists that work with this group of victims identify these individuals as having certain diseases like acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The method of treatment, which combines psychotherapy and pharmacology, is the same as that used to treat PTSD.
Obviously, the victim’s qualities must be taken into account when designing the treatment. If there is a lack of confidence and insecurity, efforts will be made to raise one’s emotional stability, personal security, and awareness of one’s own reactions as well as the beliefs and theories that support them.
We must deal with this symptomatology if the patient exhibits signs of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. The recovery is good, and the length of time varies on a number of variables, including the length of time he was detained against his will, his coping mechanisms, how well he learned from his experiences, and the circumstances of the detention.
Finally, it should be emphasised that this phenomenon is pretty intriguing psychologically, therefore those who study victimology should study and investigate the underlying behaviours To this “syndrome” in greater detail in order to be able to shed a little more Light in everything that surrounds it.
Additionally, from a societal standpoint is crucial due to the collateral damage it may cause to society.