What is the Tourist Syndrome?

Jeff Kaliel

March 13, 2023

When traveling, you probably experience moments of awe, culture shock, and misunderstanding. Whether these moments happen in your own country or abroad, they can be very uncomfortable and even scary at times. For some, these experiences lead to serious psychiatric disorders. Tourist Syndrome is a term that refers to those who become disoriented, depressed, and sometimes even hospitalized when they visit certain destinations.

What is the Syndrome?

Tourist Syndrome is a set of symptoms that develops in people who travel to an unfamiliar place. Breathtaking TikTok videos and glamorous Instagram reels can lead to high expectations for a place, and when those expectations don’t meet the reality of the city, some tourists might experience real pain in their hearts and minds.

Paris, France, is a popular destination that attracts many visitors each year. It is known for its world-class art, museums, parks, and architecture.

But for some tourists, their experience of the French capital is not quite as magical as they expected it to be. Some suffer from a condition called “Paris Syndrome,” a disorder that causes them to feel dizzy, lose their sense of balance, become hallucinating, and even believe they are Louis XIV!

The condition is mainly associated with Japanese tourists and is so serious that an average of 12 Japanese tourists seek mental health help after every trip to France. But it’s also common for travelers from other countries to experience this strange phenomenon as well.

Stendhal Syndrome

Stendhal Syndrome, also known as Florence syndrome or aesthetic sickness, is a rare psychosomatic disorder that causes tachycardia, dizziness, fainting, sweating, disorientation, and confusion when someone looks at artwork with which they connect emotionally. Its named after the pseudonym of a French author who wrote about experiencing. It in 1817 when he visited the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence.

Researchers explain that it could develop in people who are incredibly sensitive to art. have access to an abundance of it in one place. Visual and architectural arts are the most common culprits. But other items in a natural environment — like a gorgeous sunrise or breathtaking mountain view — could also cause it.

Graziella Magherini an Italian psychiatrist described the condition in 1979. After she saw a few patients who experienced similar symptoms after visiting Florence’s art museums and galleries. This condition has since spread across the world. With researchers noting that Paris syndrome and Jerusalem syndrome are related.

Jerusalem Syndromes

Jerusalem Syndrome is a serious mental illness that occurs in tourists visiting the Holy City. It was first reported by Israeli psychiatrists in 2000.

The symptoms usually start within a few days of arriving in the city. They often triggered by a fixation or idiosyncratic belief in the place. For example, they may have a deep religious connection to the land or believe they’re John the Baptist, Jesus, or Samson.

They may also become obsessed with cleanliness and purity. They will take countless baths and showers, wear white bed sheets or a toga, and cut their fingernails and toenails.

These manifestations can be a warning that they need to seek professional psychiatric treatment. And will likely result in an escalation of the symptoms leading to a psychotic episode. However if these patients are physically removed from the holy places in Jerusalem they will usually recover.

Paris Syndrome

Tourists often build up a city or country in their minds as the perfect getaway spot. Whether that is a beach vacation in the Maldives, an overwater bungalow in South Africa. Or getting lost among Paris’s streets. It is not uncommon to be disappointed by travel expectations that are too high.

A condition recognized by Japanese psychiatrist Hiroaki Ota in 1986. Paris Syndrome is an extreme form of culture shock where people are so taken aback. By their surroundings that they become depressed and suffer physical and psychiatric symptoms. The condition is thought to be a result of the intense juxtaposition between visitors expectations and their actual experiences in a new place Mail Online reports.

Previously reported cases include a man who believed he was Louis XIV. And a woman who thought she was being attacked with microwaves. Journal du Dimanche reported. Experts don’t agree on the cause of the disorder but say it can be triggered by a combination of factors like language barriers or cultural differences.