Stockholm syndrome

Overview

Type of disease: Behavioral and mental health disorders | Acquired | Rare conditions

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition in which hostages become emotionally attached to their captor. People who experience Stockholm syndrome may identify with the captor, have positive feelings towards him or her, and defend him or her after being set free. Stockholm syndrome may also develop in cases where the victim is not a hostage. For example, victims of intimate partner violence may experience symptoms of Stockholm syndrome by connecting to their abusive mate.

Stockholm syndrome is not a diagnosis, but a coping strategy of victims of traumatic events. Someone experiencing Stockholm syndrome would likely be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and would receive similar treatments including short-term medication and more long-term psychotherapy. If you or someone you know may be suffering from Stockholm syndrome or PTSD, talk to your psychologist, psychiatrist or therapist about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also available to help connect you with others living with Stockholm syndrome.

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