Chronic and Multiple Stress Syndrome, more frequently known as Ulysses Syndrome, is a set of symptoms that produces serious stress before the decision to emigrate . Currently more than 50 million people suffer from it. The name this syndrome refers to Odysseus, a hero of Greek mythology known as Ulysses in Roman legends. According to the Iliad and the Odyssey, the main epic texts of the Greek classical era, after participating in the Trojan War, Ulysses sailed for 10 years facing great difficulties before managing to return home .

The term was coined in the 90s by Joseba Achotegui, current professor at the University of Barcelona. He also directs the support program called the Psychopathological and Psychosocial Care Service for Immigrants and Refugees (SAPPIR).

Different studies affirm that although they do not exclude its appearance in young people, it occurs more frequently in the elderly and middle-aged people . This is usually the case due to the greater difficulty of learning another language or adapting to a new society.

Causes of Ulysses Syndrome

– Ulysses syndrome has become related to the grieving process (adaptation to psychologically significant losses). People who decide to emigrate separate themselves from their usual environment, from their family, from their friends, from their co-workers and even from their identity as citizens of a specific country. Loneliness is harder at night when memories and emotional needs arrive.

– On many occasions, the person who decides to emigrate from the country sends most of the money they generate to their family. This leads to a poor diet based on cheap products that may not include all the nutrients you really need.

– One of the factors that most affects Ulysses syndrome is the feeling of sociocultural isolation . It can be caused by ignorance of the country’s language, cultural or ethnic differences, different values. Also because of the prejudices with which many of these people are judged when arriving at their new destination.

– In cases where the action of emigrating has been carried out illegally, the fear factor also appears . The fear of possible deportation from the country or internment is an extra stressor that negatively affects emotional health.

– Ulysses syndrome is also accentuated by the great difficulties experienced by a large number of immigrants when trying to legalize their situation . Looking for work or accessing basic services such as housing or health care is a really frustrating task for many of them.

Symptoms of Ulysses Syndrome

– In the field of depression, feelings of sadness related to personal failure, low self-esteem, guilt and even the desire to die proliferate . This can vary by culture, for example Westerners are more likely to feel guilty than Asians.

– Appearance of anxiety, manifested in symptoms of exaggerated worry, irritability, psychological and physical tension and fear. Insomnia is also a fairly widespread symptom.

– Headaches , present in most patients. They are usually accompanied by fatigue

– Excessive consumption of substances such as tobacco and alcohol.

– Painful gastrointestinal, bone and muscle symptoms (example: chest discomfort).


– It is advisable for the person suffering from the disorder to go to a doctor or psychologist so that he or she tries to reduce the symptoms as much as possible.

– Talking with loved ones calms the feeling of loneliness and makes the emigrant feel closer to their loved ones.

– It is good to do physical exercise or carry out different relaxation techniques to combat stress.

– It is essential to be optimistic and maintain positive thinking

– Try to follow a good diet where fruits, vegetables and cereals abound. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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