How Jerusalem Syndrome Works

Jerusalem Syndrome Treatments

When people exhibit signs of Jerusalem Syndrome, authorities know to bring them to Kfar Shaul, a psychiatric hospital. Doctors don't tell "King David" that he isn't King David -- it doesn't help to invalidate the patient's notion of himself and his mission. Doctors sometimes give patients mild antipsychotic medications or tranquilizers.

The best way to help, say the doctors at Kfar Shaul, is to get the patients out of the city and to their families. Once the people are out of Jerusalem and around their families and people who know them, they return to normal. They walk right back into their lives, and not a trace of mental illness seems to follow them. The whole process of Jerusalem Syndrome, from start to finish, takes from five to seven days. It's as if it never happened.

Many people who get Jerusalem Syndrome don't get treated at all. In a year, maybe 100 strangely behaving tourists are referred to Kfar Shaul, but only 40 or so are deemed in need of admission.

Because of people like David Koresh and Michael Rohan -- a Christian tourist said to have Jerusalem Syndrome who tried to burn down the al-Aksa Mosque -- Israeli authorities take Jerusalem Syndrome seriously. Before the year 2000 hit, Israeli doctors and authorities and even the FBI were worried about millennial violence that might take place in Jerusalem. They feared that apocalyptic cults and dangerous charismatic leaders would commit terrorist acts in an attempt to bring about Armageddon -- and take impressionable tourists along for the ride. Fortunately, there was no rise in people admitted to Kfar Shaul for Jerusalem Syndrome.

For more information about Jerusalem Syndrome and related topics, check out the links below.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Abramowitz, Leah. "The Jerusalem Syndrome." Jewish Virtual Library.
  • Bar-El, Yair et al. "Jerusalem Syndrome." The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2000. 176: 86-90.
  • Dale, Michael. "Stendhal's Syndrome." Omni. Dale, Michael (1988, March). Stendhal's Syndrome. Omni, 10(6), 29. Retrieved November 1, 2007, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1753467).
  • Del Castillo, Daniel. "Mad for Jerusalem." The Chronicle of Higher Education. August 17, 2001. Vol. 47, Issue 49.
  • Fein, Judith. "Jerusalem Syndrome." The Savvy Traveler.
  • Haberman, Clyde. "What Makes Samson Run Amok? He's Manic in Jerusalem." The New York Times. May 13, 1992.
  • Kalian, Moshe and Eliezer Witztum. "Jerusalem syndrome as reflected in the pilgrimage and biographies of four extraordinary women from the 14th century to the end of the second millennium." Mental Health, Religion and Culture. Volume 5, Number 1, 2002.
  • Kezwer, Gil. "Jerusalem's History Overwhelms Some Visitors." CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal. 05/05/98, Vol. 158 Issue 9, p1124, 1/2p
  • Lee, Rebecca. "The Jerusalem Syndrome." Atlantic Monthly. May 1995, Vol. 257 Issue 5, p 24-38.
  • Ramsland, Katherine. "David Koresh and the Waco Incident." Crime Library.
  • Ross, Rick. "The Waco Davidian Standoff." Cult Education and Recovery. Rick Ross Institute. September 1999.
  • Willacy, Mark. Foreign Correspondent. August 15, 2006. Israel - Jerusalem Syndrome.