Content Warning

Warning about the content

The College of Psychologists of Madrid warns of some disorders or symptoms derived from the action of travelling abroad. Although none of these syndromes imply seriousness, it is important to take them into account. Below we detail some of these:

  • Paris syndrome: this is associated with delusions, hallucinations, persecution complexes, loss of connection with reality, anxiety, sweating and increased heart rate and sexual desire. Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you are from a particular Pacific archipelago), Paris syndrome usually only affects Japanese tourists visiting Paris. It affects about 20 victims a year, usually women in their 30s. Although the chances of an individual being affected are slim, the threat is considered great enough for the Japanese embassy in Paris to maintain a round-the-clock hotline for travellers at risk. 

  • Reverse Culture Shock: This is not exactly a syndrome, but a process of adaptation for people who have spent a long time in another country and are returning to settle in their place of origin. It is mainly due to the changes the traveller experienced on a personal level during their stay abroad, according to Yale University; in that period of time they established routines, experienced meaningful moments, created a circle of friends and are well adapted to a different culture. As a result, their "home" no longer feels like home. The person going through this process may begin to judge his or her own country harshly, feel out of place, suffer from depression, fatigue, sleep problems, apathy or irritability. The process may take months or even years, depending on the person and their efforts to adjust again.

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a whole set of behaviours and emotional reactions usually develop in response to life-threatening situations. These symptoms may consist of flashbacks or reliving the incident, either in dreams, uncontrollable memories or hallucinations, or hypervigilant reactions to normal stimuli, such as performing evasive manoeuvres when hearing a plate fall.