Earth Syndrome

Earth Syndrome is a transient psychological disorder encountered by some people visiting or vacationing on Earth.

Visitors from the outer quadrants are observed to be especially susceptible. From the estimated six million yearly visitors the number of reported cases is significant: according to an administrator at the Imperial Tourist Institute, around 100 off-world tourists a year are affected by the syndrome.

Earth Syndrome is characterized by a number of psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution (delusions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, or hostility from others), derealisation, depersonalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, etc.

In fact, the observed clinical picture is quite variable, but it has the characteristic of occurring during trips which confront travellers with things they have not previously experienced and had not anticipated.

Principal to the diagnosis is that the experienced symptoms did not exist before the trip and disappear following a return to the sufferer's familiar surroundings.


The experts cite the following matters as factors that combine to induce the phenomenon:

1 Language barrier - few colonists speak the local languages and dialects and vice versa (especially the nearly dead language known as 'France', spoken only in small areas of BritCit). This is believed to be the principal cause and is thought to engender the remainder. Apart from the obvious differences between Earthers and colonists many everyday phrases and idioms are shorn of meaning and substance when translated, adding to the confusion of some who have not previously encountered such.

2 Cultural difference - the large difference between not only the languages but the manner Earther communicate on an interpersonal level in comparison to the colonies proves too great a difficulty for some COlonial visitors. It is thought that it is the rapid and frequent fluctuations in mood, tense and attitude, especially in the delivery of humour, which cause the most difficulty.

3 Idealised image of Earth - it is also speculated as manifesting from an individual's inability to reconcile a disparity between the popular image and the reality of Earth.

4 Exhaustion - finally, it is thought that the over-booking of one's time and energy, whether on a business trip or on holiday, in attempting to cram too much into every moment of a stay on Earth, along with the effects of time differences, gravity difference, air pressure variences, all contribute to the psychological destabilisation of some visitors.