Stockholm Syndrome: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Stockholm Syndrome is a condition that can be seen in both hostage and domestic situations. It is named after the 1973 Stockholm bank robbery, where the hostages started to sympathize with their captors. While Stockholm Syndrome has some benefits, such as creating bonds between people, it can also have negative consequences. This blog post will explore the good, the bad and the ugly of Stockholm Syndrome.

What Is Stockholm Syndrome?

The term was coined by Swedish psychiatrist, Dr. Nils Bejerot in 1973 (1) when he and his colleagues were studying a bank robbery that took place in Stockholm, Sweden. In this incident, the hostages bonded with their captors to such an extent that they refused to testify against them at trial for fear of reprisal. In other words, it’s where the victim starts identifying with their abuser as a way of coping with trauma or abuse. The syndrome has been observed most commonly among female captives; however, it can also occur in males and children.

It has many different names, such as “capture-bonding,” where the victim’s emotional attachment with the kidnappers starts off as one of fear but eventually develops into trust and even love.

Is Stockholm Syndrome curable?

In some cases Stockholm syndrome is curable but for the most part, it is a condition that cannot be cured. In certain cases, Stockholm syndrome can be curbed with therapy and introspection. The best way to stop these feelings of attachment is by removing oneself from the physical presence of the captor and becoming more confident in ourselves. Professionals recommend withdrawing from contact with captors and taking measures to rebuild social networks that existed before captivity. Avoiding reminders like music or books that were present during intimate interactions and avoiding looking at keepers while they are eating all help too.

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Up to 30% of people who are kidnapped will form some emotional bond with their captors!

Stockholm Syndrome is not just seen in hostage scenarios; it can also be found in abusive relationships or when someone becomes too dependent on another person, such as an addict.

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It’s been well-documented that this phenomenon can happen between prisoners and guards as well as with battered spouses who stay with their abusers. The thing is, at some point we’ve all experienced feeling connected to someone we don’t know very well – may be because they remind us of someone else? Or perhaps there’s an element of trust established through personal exchanges? Maybe our brains are wired to create bonds based on similarities.

If you are currently or have been a victim of emotional abuse or domestic violence, this article may be triggering for you. If so, please reach out to someone who can help you find safety and support before reading on.

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The Causes of Stockholm Syndrome

This post will explore the causes and symptoms of this syndrome, as well as what you can do if you or someone close to you suffers from it.

Many people are not aware that there are many different causes for this complex psychological disorder. In order to prevent any further development, it’s important to be knowledgeable about what causes this disorder so we may educate ourselves and others on how to avoid developing these symptoms.

There are many contributing factors to the development of Stockholm syndrome, including isolation, constant threats, and a lack of support from others. Victimized individuals may also begin to believe that their captors are the only ones who truly understand them.
Captivity can be physical or psychological, and it can last for days, weeks, months, or even years. Victims may feel a sense of obligation to their captor s because they have been treated well during their captivity.

There are three stages in the development and progression of Stockholm Syndrome;


Identification is characterized by feelings of trust and affection towards one's abuser, while defiance may include anger or hostility towards them.



Depression usually follows after being rescued from captivity because returning to normal life can be difficult for someone who has been traumatized.

Treatment for Stockholm Syndrome includes psychotherapy as well as medication if necessary (anti-depressants).

The Symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome

The world has heard of Stockholm Syndrome, but many people are not familiar with the symptoms. Some common symptoms include a strong attachment to the captor and an intense fear of escape.

The symptoms of Stockholm syndrome include feeling sorry for or defending your captor; having feelings of loyalty or fear towards your captor; being afraid when you are near people outside of the relationship, etc. Anybody can develop this disorder after being abused, threatened, intimidated, or even deprived of food and water because it affects how one thinks about themselves and others around them.

  • Stockholm Syndrome is a form of psychological trauma that occurs when hostages develop feelings of trust or affection for their captors.
  • The hostage may feel gratitude, sympathy, and even love towards the captor.
  • Other symptoms include positive thoughts about the kidnapper and negative thoughts about police officers or rescue workers who are trying to free them from captivity.
  • Symptoms usually occur in situations where victims have been isolated from family members, friends, or other people they know well.
  • It can also be caused by physical abuse such as being beaten by captors.
  • There has not been enough research done on how Stockholm Syndrome affects children but experts believe it could be more difficult because children tend to identify more with their parents than adults do with their kidnappers.
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Treatment for Stockholm Syndrome

The most common treatment for Stockholm Syndrome is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This therapy helps the victim of Stockholm Syndrome to make a distinction between their feelings and thoughts, as well as recognize that they are not obliged to be passive or submissive in response to abuse. The goal of this therapy is for victims of Stockholm Syndrome to start feeling empowered and like they have control over their lives again.

The main objective when treating someone with Stockholm Syndrome is to create an environment where the victim feels safe enough to share their story without being judged or criticized. It’s also important that loved ones understand why it might be difficult for them to leave the relationship with an abusive partner despite any desire they may feel.

There is no known cure for Stockholm Syndrome. While there are many treatments that have been tried to help victims of this trauma, most fail due to the complicated nature of Stockholm Syndrome.

In order to better understand why these treatments often don’t work, we need a deeper understanding of what causes Stockholm Syndrome in the first place. Studies on hostage situations like those that occurred during 9/11 show that they usually last between 3-5 days before being resolved or ending tragically.

  • Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological condition where hostages develop an emotional attachment to their captors.
  • Symptoms of Stockholm include positive feelings about the kidnapper, negative feelings towards law enforcement, and avoidance of other people.
  • Treatment for Stockholm Syndrome includes psychotherapy and medication.
  • The prognosis for individuals with Stockholm Syndrome is good as long as they receive treatment.
  • Stockholm Syndrome is a mental disorder in which hostages develop feelings of trust or affection for their captors.
  • Symptoms include anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
  • The best way to treat Stockholm Syndrome is with therapy sessions that allow the victim to work through their trauma in a safe environment.
  • It’s important for victims not to avoid reminders of the traumatic event because this can lead to PTSD and other mental health disorders.
  • Treatment usually takes place over an extended period so it can be tailored to each individual’s needs.
  • Therapy sessions are confidential and private so they provide a safe space where victims don’t feel judged or ashamed about what happened during the abduction.

Last Updated on December 10, 2022 by Lucas Berg


5 thoughts on “Stockholm Syndrome: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”

  1. Pingback: Síndrome de Estocolmo: Definición, criterios y etapas - Psicomatices

  2. Michele G. Miller

    Thank you for your excellent coverage of this syndrome. I am a Clinical Social Worker & have practiced for 39 years as a therapist. I believe that much of the cycle of abuse in families traumatized the – generally – woman & children to the point where they develop Stockholm Syndrome, hence Battered Wife Syndrome & all too often children growing up to be abusers or becoming codependent with an abuser(s). Victims rarely receive appropriate treatment & real protection & almost always develop PTSD.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Michelle.

      We value your opinions as you are an experienced member of this community. Also, we would like to thank you for your services to make the world a better place.

  3. Please consider firing the fool who formatted this articles’ horrendous layout for this web page. Constantly repeating the same material adds nothing to the factuality of the subject. It’s as if another dumbass “woke” SJW idiot is repeating “horse crap” three times in a row to convince us that horse farts cause global warming. Didn’t anyone pay close attention in school. Or was everything just CRT? Perhaps they can claim Stockholm victim status.

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