Erotomania

Erotomania is a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that another person, usually of a higher social status, is in love with him or her.

Erotomania is also called '''de Clérambault's syndrome', after the French psychiatrist Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault (1872-1934), who published a comprehensive review paper on the subject (Les Psychoses Passionelles'') in 1921.

The term erotomania is also sometimes used in a less specific clinical sense meaning excessive pursuit of or preoccupation with love or sex.

History

Early references to the condition can be found in the work of Hippocrates, Erasistratus, Plutarch and Galen. In the psychiatric literature it was first referred to in 1623 in a treatise by Jacques Ferrand (Maladie d'amour ou Mélancolie érotique) and has been variously called "old maid's psychosis", "erotic paranoia" and "erotic self-referent delusions" until the common usage of the terms erotomania and de Clérambault's syndrome.

Berrios and Kennedy have outlined several periods of history through which the concept of erotomania has changed considerably:

Contemporary syndrome

The core of the syndrome is that the affected person has a delusional belief that another person, usually of higher social status, is secretly in love with them. The sufferer may also believe that the subject of their delusion secretly communicates their love by subtle methods such as body posture, arrangement of household objects and other seemingly innocuous acts (or, if the person is a public figure, through clues in the media). The object of the delusion usually has little or no contact with the delusional person, who often believes that the object initiated the fictional relationship. Erotomanic delusions are typically found as the primary symptom of delusional disorder, or in the context of schizophrenia.

Occasionally the subject of the delusion may not actually exist, although more commonly, the subjects are media figures such as popular singers, actors and politicians. Erotomania has been cited as one cause for stalking or harassment campaigns.

The assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley, Jr. was reported to have been driven by an erotomanic delusion that the death of the president would cause actress Jodie Foster to publicly declare her love for Hinckley.

Late night comedian David Letterman and retired astronaut Story Musgrave were the targets of delusional Margaret Mary Ray. Other reported celebrity targets of erotomania include Madonna, Steven Spielberg, Barbara Mandrell, and Linda Ronstadt.

Erotomania in fiction

See also

References

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This article is based on "Erotomania" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Erotomania&action=history