What Is An Uppgivenhetssyndrom?

What Is An Uppgivenhetssyndrom?

This is a very long read by Rachel Aviv for The New Yorker, but a truly interesting article on how refugees give up living as they face the trauma of deportation. Diagnosed as an uppgivenhetssyndrom, it happens only in Sweden. By all accounts, these children are genuinely ill, as they possess a total lack of willpower; like inability to eat, speak and move. They are in a life-threatening condition and show no reactions even to painful stimuli. Several hundred cases have been reported, which in 2014 led the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare to introduce a new diagnosis called Resignation Syndrome. This “Swedish” syndrome appears to be a mystery. There are asylum seeking families all around the world, why does this syndrome occur to such an extent in a single country? A common explanation of the syndrome is that it is a reaction to stress and depression. The explanation sounds intuitively reasonable, considering these children’s experiences. But if it were true, the syndrome should occur also in other countries. Another peculiarity is that it does not affect unaccompanied refugee children, only children who arrive with their families. The problem is again, traumatised refugee families exist all around the world. So why is the syndrome common only in Sweden? Credit: The Ethics Blog.

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