Syndrome E: what is it, does it really exist?

Syndrome E what is it does it really exist

Syndrome E is the name of the eponymous novel by Franck Thilliez and of a series which will be broadcast from September 29 on TF1. It characterizes ordinary people who turn into murderers and executioners of helpless victims. Explanations with our psychiatrists.

[Mise à jour le 22 septembre 2022 à 18h06] How can ordinary citizens turn into torturers and executioners defenseless victims? the E-syndrome would be at the origin according to the Professor Itzhak Fried who characterized it. This syndrome is the title of the eponymous novel by Franck Thilliez released in 2020. It tells the story of police officers who investigate the world of mind manipulation and neuroscience after corpses are found mutilated (due to Syndrome E). the novel was adapted into a series consisting of six episodes of 52 minutes and produced by Laure de Butler. She will be broadcast on TF1 from September 29, 2022. In the cast, Vincent Elbaz, Jennifer Decker, Kool Shen, Emmanuelle Béart, Michèle Bernier, or even Anne Charrier. Interview with experts to learn more about Syndrome E.

What is Syndrome E?

Syndrome E has been characterized and named by American neurosurgeon and psychiatrist Itzhak Friedprofessor of neurosurgery, psychiatry, and bio-behavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1998.”The transformation of previously non-violent groups of individuals into repetitive killers of defenseless members of society has been a recurring phenomenon throughout history. This transformation is characterized by a set of symptoms and signs suggestive of a common syndrome, Syndrome E he says in an article in the magazine The Lancet. This would be the name given to the transformation of seemingly ordinary citizens into murderers and executioners of defenseless victims (for example during genocide or war crimes). Syndrome E would be a personality trouble and not a mental illness, such as Hubris syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Syndrome E?

Syndrome E according to Itzhak Fried would include a series of distinctive signs such as:

  • a loss of affection
  • obsessive ideas
  • a temporary excitement due to the violent acts followed by a habituation where the violence becomes commonplace
  • a compartmentalization effect (the executioners can exterminate in the morning, and live a tidy family life in the evening)
  • a group contagion effect

Does Syndrome E Exist?

E-syndrome does not seem to exist in medicine. “It is not not referenced in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), reference manual for pathologies and syndromes. According to the description, it must be close to sociopathy/psychopathy: individuals who commit murderous acts. The author of the book has surely invented this syndrome to justify the acting out of the characters in the story comments Johanna Rozenblum, clinical psychologist.


E-syndromeItzhak Fried.

The Lancet, December 1998