Sign of the times as syndrome sufferers stop defying definition

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The Independent Online
There is a debilitating new disease called Syndrome syndrome. It afflicts editors of the Collins English Dictionaries who spend months discovering new syndromes to put into their reference works.

Some 25 syndromes and their effects have been detailed by the seven-strong editorial team under Lorna Gilmour, the managing editor of Collins English Dictionaries. They are, says Ms Gilmour, a 90s phenomenon and the next Collins Dictionary will contain a number of them.

Gulf war syndrome, suffered by those who took part in the conflict, is definitely in the next edition, as is Jerusalem syndrome - "a delusive condition affecting some visitors to Jerusalem, in which the sufferer identifies with a major figure from his or her religious background".

Those of a more temporal persuasion risk the double whammy of Affluenza - "a feeling of guilt experienced by someone who is earning a lot of money", and the even more painful Fat Docket syndrome - "sciatic pain caused by sitting on thick wallets".

It could be worse. You might have given up the pursuit of wealth for a healthier lifestyle. Beware Pedal Pusher's Palsy - "a condition caused by overuse of exercise bicycles with wide seats and high handlebars, requiring a position which causes pressure on the sciatic nerve".

Workers made redundant can breathe a sigh of relief that they will not fall prey to Survivors' syndrome - "a chronic insecurity felt by employees who have escaped 'downsizing', causing apathy and a lack of trust in their company".

Curiously, the one syndrome that did make headlines this year, "Paradise syndrome" - a feeling that things are going so well you must become ill and die, which the pop singer Dave Stewart claimed to have - has not registered with the Collins researchers. "That's a new one on us," said Lorna Gilmour. Perhaps her staff should read the papers more thoroughly, or they may not last long enough to suffer Survivors' syndrome.

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