University of São Paulo: Immigrants may suffer from a multiple stress condition, Ulysses syndrome

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Feeling displaced, out of place or even having a feeling of not belonging are some of the main immediate emotions of those who immigrate. This sentiment can be expanded, as this migration stems from extreme factors. In the case of refugees, the condition is amplified due to the traumas and inhumane conditions that led to forced migration.

The Multiple Stress Immigrant Syndrome, also known as Ulysses syndrome, is a specific mental condition that affects people in transit and the symptoms involve depressive, anxious and dissociative conditions. In some cases, they can develop chemical dependency and even physical pain.

Challenges to start over
Researcher from the Department of Anthropology of the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFCLH) at USP, João Gilberto Belvel, explains that the name of the syndrome comes from its relationship with the epic poem by Homer, which describes the journey of the hero Ulysses. . As in mythology, the feeling of loss is present in the condition experienced by migrants. In this situation, there is almost a grieving process in immigration, which can be linked to the loneliness of isolation from social life, in addition to the need for a fresh start and the installation of new social and cultural roots in a new place.

“This is recurrent, the feeling of isolation, the stress caused by the absolute loss of cultural and social references, the distance from relatives”, added to the disconnection and impression of not belonging are some of the main causes highlighted by Belvel. Such factors are magnified as the language barrier is present, not to mention xenophobia.

And not only the arrival at the new place is a reason for attention, since the migration route itself is a potential cause of the syndrome, as are the dangers faced during the trip. For these individuals, the migratory process would then be “related to the ‘undoing’ of the identities that have always been part of this person”,’ adds researcher Julia Bartsch, a specialist in immigration psychoanalysis at the Institute of Psychology at USP.

Cultural agents in support
The shock of starting over can be lessened when there is more targeted assistance. Both researchers emphasize measures that involve not only medical support for the arrival of migrants in refugee situations. The presence of cultural centers, an assistance based on the culture and language of origin can reduce, in a way, the distance from the place of origin of these migrants, softening the process of loss in immigrating.

Feeling displaced, out of place or even having a feeling of not belonging are some of the main immediate emotions of those who immigrate. This sentiment can be expanded, as this migration stems from extreme factors. In the case of refugees, the condition is amplified due to the traumas and inhumane conditions that led to forced migration.

The Multiple Stress Immigrant Syndrome, also known as Ulysses syndrome, is a specific mental condition that affects people in transit and the symptoms involve depressive, anxious and dissociative conditions. In some cases, they can develop chemical dependency and even physical pain.

Challenges to start over

Researcher from the Department of Anthropology of the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFCLH) at USP, João Gilberto Belvel, explains that the name of the syndrome comes from its relationship with the epic poem by Homer, which describes the journey of the hero Ulysses. . As in mythology, the feeling of loss is present in the condition experienced by migrants. In this situation, there is almost a grieving process in immigration, which can be linked to the loneliness of isolation from social life, in addition to the need for a fresh start and the installation of new social and cultural roots in a new place.

“This is recurrent, the feeling of isolation, the stress caused by the absolute loss of cultural and social references, the distance from relatives”, added to the disconnection and impression of not belonging are some of the main causes highlighted by Belvel. Such factors are magnified as the language barrier is present, not to mention xenophobia.

And not only the arrival at the new place is a reason for attention, since the migration route itself is a potential cause of the syndrome, as are the dangers faced during the trip. For these individuals, the migratory process would then be “related to the ‘undoing’ of the identities that have always been part of this person”,’ adds researcher Julia Bartsch, a specialist in immigration psychoanalysis at the Institute of Psychology at USP.

Cultural agents in support
The shock of starting over can be lessened when there is more targeted assistance. Both researchers emphasize measures that involve not only medical support for the arrival of migrants in refugee situations. The presence of cultural centers, an assistance based on the culture and language of origin can reduce, in a way, the distance from the place of origin of these migrants, softening the process of loss in immigrating.

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