Stockholm Syndrome

A coping strategy for a captivity or abusive setting is Stockholm syndrome. Over time, people come to feel good about their captors or abusers. This condition is applicable to sex trafficking, coach-athlete abuse, child abuse, and relationship abuse. Talk therapy (“talk therapy”) and, if required, medication are all part of the treatment. Stockholm syndrome is a psychological reaction. Some victims of abuse and hoHigh-profile kidnappings and hostage-takings are often associated with Stockholm Syndrome.  Regular individuals may also experience this psychological condition as a result of various sorts of trauma, in addition to well-known criminal situations.

What is Stockholm Syndrome?

The psychological reaction known as Stockholm syndrome is brought on by being imprisoned. Those who experience Stockholm syndrome have an emotional connection with their captors and begin to feel sorry for them. In addition to the classic kidnapper-hostage scenario, Stockholm syndrome today includes a variety of traumas where there is a bond between the abuser and the victim. Numerous medical professionals believe that the victim’s positive feelings toward their abuser are a psychological reaction, or coping mechanism, that they utilise to get through the trauma or abuse they have endured for days, weeks, or even years. Other psychiatric conditions that are connected in some way include:

  • Bonding over trauma.
  • Learned to be powerless.
  • Syndrome of the battered person.

Because of Stockholm syndrome, the captive may grow resentful of the authorities or anyone seeking to accomplish a rescue. Nils Bejerot, a criminologist in Stockholm, Sweden, gave the condition its official name in 1973, despite the fact that many people have likely been affected by it for a long time. In the context of a bank heist, he used the word to characterise the hostages’ unexpected reaction to their assailant. These people became friendly with their captors despite the fact that they were being held against their will in a desperate position. They even helped pay for their attorneys after they were found out.

Causes of Stockholm Syndrome

Not everyone who is in a position exhibits symptoms of Stockholm syndrome. Although the reason behind certain people’s behaviour is unclear, it is generally accepted that it is a survival tactic. To deal with the intense and terrible condition, a person could forge these ties. There are some crucial components that can make a Stockholm syndrome more likely. These consist of:

  • Spending a lengthy period in an emotionally sensitive scenario
  • Being in unsanitary conditions and sharing a space with the hostage-taker (e.g. Not enough food, physically uncomfortable space)
  • When the basic requirements of the captives are met by the hostage-taker
  • The avoidance of life-threatening risks (e.g. Mock executions)
  • If the prisoners have not been rendered inhuman

Child abuse: For kids, abuse can be incredibly perplexing. Abusers frequently employ violence and threats against their victims, but they can also exhibit acts of compassion that could be mistaken for love or affection. Between the child and the abuser, an emotional connection can develop that frequently offers the abuser long-term protection.

Sports: Athletes who are abused by their coaches run the risk of developing Stockholm syndrome. They might defend or feel sorry for the coach if they begin to explain their actions. It could result in Stockholm syndrome.

Abuse: Domestic violence that is sexual, physical, or emotional can cause the victim and the abuser to form tangled emotional ties.

Trafficking in Sex: People who are trafficked and made to work in the sex trade depend on their captors for their fundamental needs. As a means of surviving, they could grow close on a personal level.

Symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome

Those that suffer from Stockholm syndrome:

  • Positivity toward the abusers or captors
  • Sympathy for the attitudes and actions of their captors.
  • Negative attitudes against law enforcement or other authorities.

Additional signs and symptoms that resemble post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include:

  • Flashbacks.
  • Having untrustworthiness, irritability, jitters, or anxiety.
  • Can’t unwind or take pleasure in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Having trouble focusing


The newest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual, the gold standard of mental health disorders and syndromes, does not formally recognise or list Stockholm syndrome as a diagnosis. Healthcare practitioners may or may not be aware of this condition because it is not included. However, every healthcare professional is aware of the behaviours that come from a traumatic event. Stockholm syndrome is frequently compared to PTSD or acute stress disorder in terms of diagnostic criteria and some treatments.

Treatment of Stockholm Syndrome

If you think you or someone you know has Stockholm Syndrome, help is available. Counseling or psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder can help in the short term by relieving symptoms of recovery, such as depression and anxiety. You or a loved one may benefit even more from long-term psychotherapy for rehabilitation: a better understanding of what happened, why it happened, and how to move on To help, you can learn healthy coping skills and techniques from psychologists and psychotherapists. can. 

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