These children, all from families seeking asylum in the country, find themselves in generalized states of apathy for several weeks, months or even years.
It is a disease that is still little explained and which has affected hundreds of children in Sweden for more than 20 years. As the Courrier international reports, they are called, the sleeping children. Children who do not suffer from any apparent illness, but remain in a state of generalized apathy. Lying down, eyes closed, they no longer move and only breathe. A state of endless sleep. As in comatose patients, they are infused by nasogastric tube.
The phenomenon of sleeping children would have appeared in the Scandinavian country in the 1990s and would have particularly increased in the 2000s. Between 2003 and 2005 alone, 424 cases were identified, reports the newspaper which assures that since then, several hundred of other cases have appeared. This disease affects both young boys and girls, but has nevertheless been observed in a certain type of population: refugees.
Asleep but aware
The Irish neurologist who conducted the survey in Courrier international explains that these children, before falling into a deep sleep, developed anxiety, depressive symptoms and changed their behavior. “They stop playing with others first, before giving up the game altogether. They gradually withdraw into themselves, to the point, quickly, of not being able to go to school. They talk less and less, until they say no more a word. Then comes bed rest. Ultimately, they cease all interaction with the world, ”explains the expert.
Swedish medicine has obviously tried to explain the phenomenon without much success. Extensive medical examinations of hospitalized children have yielded no results. The electroencephalograms showed that contrary to appearances and even if they did not respond to any stimulus, they were conscious. It is not, however, a matter of whim or of playing the comedy when we know that children remain immersed in this state for a few weeks, others for several months, some for years. Swedish doctors have come to call this disease the "resignation syndrome".
Appearance of the disease on the third rejected asylum application
This symptom does not come from nowhere either, since it only affects children from families seeking asylum. Children who before the rest have known only conflicts, persecutions and violence, like those coming from Syria where the war has been going on for 10 years now.
In the Courrier international report, the Irish neurologist meets two sleeping Syrian sisters. The symptoms of the first started since their arrival on Swedish soil and for the second, with the third rejected asylum application, when the family were ordered to leave Sweden.
A syndrome born out of despair
While the psychological reasons for sleeping children syndrome seem pretty self-explanatory, questions remain. Why are adults not affected? Why does this phenomenon particularly affect Yazidis, Uyghurs and former Soviet countries rather than other ethnic groups? Experts are studying the trail of hormones, neurotransmitters, as well as early childhood trauma. But in all likelihood, it is the despair that is at the origin of the deep sleep of these children.
A psychologist interviewed by the media confirms this: several children gradually came back to life when a residence permit was issued to their families. In 2015, 163.000 refugees applied for asylum in the Nordic kingdom, which was somewhat overwhelmed by events. Five years later, Sweden adopted stricter measures regarding its migration policy.
https://www.20minutes.fr/monde/3046371- ... s-refugies