What is Paris syndrome?

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Paris syndrome is a psychological condition characterized by a sense of extreme disappointment and culture shock experienced by some individuals when visiting Paris, who feel that the city was not what they had expected1. The syndrome is characterized by a number of psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution, derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, and even vomiting1235. The syndrome was first coined by Hiroaki Ota, a Japanese psychiatrist working at the Sainte-Anne Hospital Center in France, in the 1980s15. It has been particularly noted among Japanese tourists, but it has also affected other travelers or temporary residents from East and Southeast Asia, such as those from China, South Korea, and Singapore1. The condition is believed to be caused by the conflict between the romanticized expectations of the city, often portrayed in literature, cinema, and popular culture, and the actual experience of the city3. Cultural disparities, linguistic hurdles, and the overwhelming aspect of a new place are all cited as causes of Paris Syndrome3. The stress of traveling, including jet lag and exhaustion, can also exacerbate the symptoms3. While Paris syndrome is not formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is recognized by many experts as a real, though rare, phenomenon68. The Japanese embassy in Paris even operates a 24/7 emergency helpline for any of its nationals suffering from its symptoms and potentially in need of repatriation5.
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