Sunday, December 15, 2013

What is Jerusalem Syndrome?

Did you find weird changes in your friend once he/she came back from Jerusalem? He/she might be a victim of Jerusalem syndrome, check out here types and its reason.

Jerusalem is holy place for Jews, Christian and Muslim pilgrimages. But it’s quite unpredictable and wonder that, healthy people who visit Jerusalem becomes victim of Jerusalem Syndrome that create hallucinating image on the brain of people and they become mentally unstable for small period of time. Tourists who affected with the Jerusalem syndrome have captured in weird situations such as some of them found in the Judean desert wrapped in hotel bed sheets or camped in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Biblical Jerusalem City

Dr. Bar-El is the "father of Jerusalem Syndrome," who named the syndrome which was earlier known as Jerusalem squabble poison. It is also known as one kind of hysteria in the ancient time. Even in today’s date when people visit Jerusalem, they do not think that it is a modern, politically controversial Jerusalem. Instead of it, they think that it is holy and religious city. This thinking becomes one of the major reasons that people create hallucination in their mind and are addicted to that place. Not only in Jerusalem but in Mecca, Rome and Paris; people’s unconscious mind becomes active and thinks about everything and every person that might was present at place where they visited. Their unconscious mind becomes dominant and suppresses the conscious mind and for some period of time people totally gets lost into the old characters and places.

On the basis of clinical experiences, Jerusalem syndrome is categorized in three different types:

Type I: Jerusalem Syndrome Superimposed On Previous Psychotic Illness

In this type, individuals are already diagnosed with the previous psychic behavior. Their main aim to visit Jerusalem is to dominate their unconscious mind and to directly relate their psychic condition to influence religious ideas that easily dominate their psychic mind to create hallucination condition.

Type I Jerusalem syndrome is divided into four subtypes: (a) psychotic identification with biblical characters (b) psychotic identification with an idea (c) ‘magical ideas’ about connection between health and holy places (d) family problems culminating in psychosis in Jerusalem.

Type II: Jerusalem Syndrome Superimposed On And Complicated By Idiosyncratic Ideations

Type II is the most common type of Jerusalem syndrome shown in people who visit Jerusalem. It can be divided into two subtypes: (a) applies to individuals belonging to a group (b) applies to lone individuals.

In this type, people don't have clear mental illness but suffer from the personality disorders or an obsession with fixed person or idea or place. Their ideas sometimes become short and do not match perfectly with delusional or psychotic dimensions. One can easily find out them from the crowd.

Type III: Jerusalem Syndrome - Discrete Form, Unconfounded By Previous Psychopathology

Type III Jerusalem syndrome is one of the most fascinating types of syndrome. It is usually related to past of any person. But in type III, hallucination only stays till any person stay around that particular place. It is also known as ‘pure’ or ‘unconfounded’ form of the syndrome.


Clinical Suggestions:
  • The Jerusalem syndrome is considered as the exceptional psychiatric phenomenon that has been found in many visitors who visit Jerusalem and who have past of psychiatric problems.
  • It is known as religion-based psychiatric disorder related to intimacy or closeness of holy places where visitor’s subconscious mind becomes dominant and visitor becomes victim of Jerusalem syndrome.
  • It can be judged easily from the victim’s religious background and beliefs.
Clinical Limitations:
  • Main reason of not having solid proof or cure is lack of follow-up information.
  • Other limitation is Psychiatrist does not exactly know that how Jerusalem looked like before 2000 years and how each and every patient think in their mind for landmark.
Image courtesy: Flickr, Werner Schnell


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