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Erotomania - A Crush Gone Too Far
In my definition, a crush is the foundation for love. You can have a crush on someone when you like them, find them attractive, want to get to know them better and think about them frequently. The person you have a crush on can either have interest in you as well and you can build onto your foundation. Or if the person doesn’t have any interest in you, the foundation will begin to crumble and you find a new ‘site’ to build your foundation on. But what happens when you let that crush go too far? This paper will discuss the psychological disorder of Erotomania and answer the following questions:
1. What is Erotomania?
2. What are the signs/symptoms of Erotomania?
3. Is Erotomania dangerous?
4. Is there a treatment/cure for Erotomania?
What is Erotomania?
Erotomania is a psychological disorder marked by the delusional belief that one is the object of another person's love or sexual desire (Erotomania, 2010). This disorder typically affects middle-aged women. It is commonly associated with psychiatric illnesses such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar Affective Disorder (Olojugba, De Silva, Kartsounis, Royan, and Carter, 2007, pg. 193). However, Erotomania is not limited to just middle-aged women. It has also been considered an obsessive compulsive disorder.
An Erotomanic – someone who suffers from Erotomania – can also believe that they are in love with someone instead of someone in love with them. This can happen at any age, sex, sexual preference, or race. Erotomania is also called de Clerambault’s Syndrome after the French psychiatrist, Gaëtan Gatian de Clerambault, who published a comprehensive review paper on the subject (Les Psychoses Passionelles ) in 1942 (Knowledgerush, 2010).
Erotomania can easily be confused with several other psychiatric illnesses like nymphomania, obsessive love disorder and narcissism. Nymphomania is hypersexuality or excessive sexual desire. Erotomania isn’t necessarily about a sexual desire, however a desire for a relationship. Obsessive love disorder happens when a person has an extreme attachment towards someone. This usually happens in children and triggered by distress. It is very similar however the person with obsessive love disorder doesn’t imagine a relationship. Narcissism is mainly self-love, someone who greatly admires themselves.
What are the signs/symptoms of Erotomania?
The signs and symptoms of Erotomania are just like any romantic relationship – love letters, telephone calls, flowers and chocolates. Still, it can get obsessive. Just like a real relationship, the intimacy will grow as the time passes (Erotomania Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour, April 19, 2009). Erotomaniacs have even been known to stalk. Although most do not feel as though they are wrong, some can become aware of what they are doing. These episodes of Erotomania can be brought on by special glances, signals or thoughts of telepathy (Erotomania, March 28, 2010).
Is Erotomania dangerous?
Erotomania can be very dangerous just like most other psychological disorders. An Erotomanic will go to extremes in order to get what they want. The following is a true story from a victim named Doreen Orion. She and her husband were both psychiatrists working at the same hospital. Her husband had too many patients and asked Doreen to see a few. One of the patients was a middle-aged woman named Fran. Fran started with sending Doreen love letters and eventually moved to a house within one mile of Doreen’s home. Despite restraining orders from Doreen, Fran would not stop. Eventually Fran started to believe that Doreen was pursuing her. The police could not do anything else. Doreen and her husband actually moved 500 miles away in hopes that Fran would stop (Erotomania Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour, April 19, 2009).
A movie called Obsessed aired on Lifetime based on a true story. The inspiration was actually an article in the 1991 Vanity Fair magazine called Erotomania – The Haunting of Dr. Brennan . A client of Dr. Brennan had made up and believed that she and Dr. Brennan were having an affair and that he was going to leave his wife. The client would stalk him, send love letters, call him and tell everyone she knew about the wonderful new man in her life. Of course, none of it was true and the client actually went to jail because of how things escalated.
Is there a treatment/cure for Erotomania?
The key to treating Erotomania is finding the underlying cause of the issue. It can be managed with pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment (Kelly, B., June 1, 2005). Follow-up is essential since Erotomania may not be fully curable. It can reoccur.
Though there have been movies and articles based on true stories about Erotomania, it is a serious problem. It is very common for patients and clients to sue their doctors on malpractice claims (Langleben, D., Dattillio, F., Guthei, T., September 1, 2006). Erotomaniacs can be very convincing since they believe what they are saying is real. Being a victim from Erotomania can be very stressful, especially for someone who is already married or in a committed relationship. It’s only natural to want to feel a sense of love and self-belonging as shown on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But for some, the initial crush can go too far.
Erotomania. (2010). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary . Retrieved April 10, 2010, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/erotomania
Erotomania. (March 28, 2010). Wikipedia. Retrieved April 11, 2010 from, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotomania
Erotomania Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour. (April 19, 2009). Erotomania – A Love Obsession, Stranger Than Fiction . Retrieved, April 10, 2010 from, http://www.mymultiplesclerosis.co.uk/stranger-than-fiction/erotomania.html
Kelly, B. (June 1, 2005). Erotomania Epidemiology and Management, CNS Drugs 2005 19 8 (657-669). Retrieved April 9, 2010, from EBSCOhost.
Knowledgerush. (2010). Erotomania. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Erotomania/
Langleben, D, Dattilio, F, and Guthei, T. (September 1, 2006). True lies: delusions and lie-detection technology, The Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 34 (351-370). Retrieved April 2, 2010, from EBSCOhost.
Olojugba, C, De Silva, R, Kartsounis, L, Royan, L and Carter, J. (September 1, 2007). De Clerambault’s syndrome (erotomania) as presenting feature of fronto-temperal dementia and motor neurone disease (FTD-MND), Behavioural Neurology 18 (193-195). Retrieved April 1, 2010, from EBSCOhost.