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Erotomania: When Obsessive Unrequited Love Goes Wrong

One sided love, unrequited love / Photo by Shutterstock

 

Being a receiver of unrequited love may be a hard thing to accept, but in most cases, people learn to move on from it. Some people may come back later and try to win their affections, only to be rejected again. It is one thing to accept rejection. It is another to be completely deluded into thinking that a person is in love with you when they are clearly not.

Erotomania, also known as Clerambault’s syndrome, takes this to a whole new level. According to Healthline.com, this an actual mental health disorder based on1 a person’s delusion. This condition leads a person to believe that the person of higher status, like a celebrity, TV personality or a famous wealthy person is in love with them, even if all evidence proves otherwise.

The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines it as “a belief or false perception that one is loved by or has had a sexual affair with a public figure or other individual."

According to People.com, 10% of stalkers are erotomaniacs. Another study which was conducted by three Spanish Psychiatry researchers found that women were more likely to suffer from erotomania than men. When they sampled some prisons and rehabilitation units, they discovered that in the general population, only 20-30% of men were erotomaniacs.

 

Behaviors and Beliefs of Erotomaniacs

A person who has Erotomania does not even know that they are suffering from it. It may be mistaken for a person just obsessing over a celebrity like normal fans. However, their actions and thoughts are way beyond those of a normal fan. They are physically and mentally incapable of believing that their object of affection does not love them. They also have this delusion that everything they do, no matter how harmful it is to the target is done out of love. Loveaddictiontreatment.com states that even denying them makes them want to go after their target even more.

 

According to Healthline and GoodTherapy.org, the symptoms of erotomania are:

- Obsessively trying to contact the person which could include stalking, sending letters, calling the person and sending them gifts

- Being jealous of the people that could cause them to be “unfaithful”

- Creating scenarios about the said person pursuing them, staking them and trying to keep in touch

- Harassing them which results in the erotomanic getting arrested

- Not wanting to do anything other than talk about their target or participate in activities related to them

- Having the belief that their target is trying to send them encouraging signals through shows, movies, news, glances, gestures

 

 

What Causes Erotomania?

Unfortunately, experts could not pinpoint the exact cause of Erotomania.

Healthline.com says that this may have been caused by other hidden psychiatric disorders the person was suffering from in the first place such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, alcohol or drug dependency and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

In addition, Medical News Today states this might also come from schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and schizo-affective disorder, extreme trauma, and stress.

They also state that social media may have been one of the triggers since it enables two people who have previously been unacquainted to come into contact with each other.

Furthermore, social media platforms reduce privacy which facilitates stalking behaviors.

 

Celebrities Who Have Been Victims of Erotomaniacs

Since erotomaniacs have the tendency to fall for people who are of higher status, which also means they are often people who are esteemed by the public, celebrities have become tone of their most common targets.

Goodtherapy.org gives some examples of celebrities who have been victims of erotomaniacs. Jodie Foster was a victim of the John Hickley Jr. who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan to impress her. Story Musgrave and David Letterman the same erotomanic going after them. Metro reports that an X Factor host, Caroline Flack had an erotomaniac stalker named Peter who sent her creepy e-mails daily. Another celebrity who had experienced this, according to Biograpy.com, was Sandra Bullock whose stalker even declared that she was his wife by law and that they belonged to each other. Crimefeed.com states that Selena Gomez had also been a target of one of them.

 

Can Erotomania Be Treated?

According to Goodtherapy.org,  a person can undergo psychotherapy and also be advised to take antipsychotic medication. Under the antipsychotic medication, they can take the traditional or the non-traditional medication. As part of the traditional medication, pimozide is one the suggested medicines to take. Non-traditional medication includes clozapine, risperidone, and olanzapine. They also stated that antipsychotic medication was said to be effective in treating erotomania.

 

Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult to change an erotomaniac’s mind. Even if a person attempts to enumerate and cite all the instances that prove his target is not madly in love with him, he would refuse to believe them. However, one can help the erotomaniac stop their delusions by letting them go through certain treatments and referring them to a psychotherapist.

 

Antipsychotic pills are said to be effective in treating erotomania / Photo by Shutterstock

 

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