A syndrome is a group of conditions which occur together, observable by others and not always observable by the person exhibiting the syndrome. From an etymological perspective, the derivation of the term is Greek, sundrom, which means a group or number of symptoms co-existing together.
Peter Pan Syndrome is a condition which mostly affects males, this syndrome is probably something that many wives and girlfriends claim they can relate to: men who act childishly and never appear to grow up and behave like mature adults. The ability of develop emotionally is stalled and they simply act “as if they were ten years old”. The condition leads suffers to feel very lonely and isolated. They moreover, typically display a lot of sensitivity and lack self confidence. They can often exhibit excessive wrath and anger spurts, as well as typically showing feelings of guilt as well as manipulative tendencies.
The extent to which it can be considered a psychological or pathological disorder is highly debated, with the World Health Organization not acknowledging this as a true disorder of the mind. It is however, a personality problem which has implications on proper socialization and on forming meaningful relationships with other peers.
The causes of the condition are uncertain although any chromosomal or genetic links have been generally excluded. Some psychologists have warned that overbearing and overprotective parents can trigger peter pan syndrome.
Could it be genetic?
Whilst DNA testing and genetic analysis has helped reveal the nature and origins of many conditions and syndrome, there has been no study that has linked any specific genes or mutations to Peter Pan syndrome. It is thus, not due to any known genetic mutations or hereditary disorders.
Consequences and effects of the suffer of Peter Pan Syndrome
Suffers of PPS are unable to deal with problems and come up with logical and rational solutions. They often deny any problem exists believing that it will just fizzle out on its own. The difficulty they have in developing relationships with other people means that they often go through several different partners, often going for partners younger than themselves.
Their innate insecurity also makes them unable to accept the mildest criticism which has implications in their working life as well as their social life. In order to deal with problems, they often over indulge in alcohol and fall into drug abuse.
Treatment of Peter Pan Syndrome
The problem with prescribing an effective treatment is that the condition has not been accepted by many psychologists and is not view as a psychological disorder. The syndrome is not even listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders).
A major challenge when psychologists try to deal with suffers of Peter Pan syndrome is that fact that these individuals do not in any way perceive themselves to have a problem or an issue. This means they are unable to identify or relate to the problem. Treatment must include immediate relatives, partners and other people playing a significant role in that person’s life. Untreated Peter Pan syndrome means growing up into an adult who has accomplished nothing; who has consistently indulged in fruitless pursuits and short meaningless relationships.
Some suggested treatments include inhibiting sufferers from indulging in their typical behaviors such as playing video games, drinking alcohol and any other behaviors that reinforce the syndrome.
Another rather sketchy treatment is teaching leadership skills and the person with syndrome to take initiative in tasks that are productive and instrumental to help people become adults.