Mental Health Awareness Project


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Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD): Behavior, Symptoms and Treatment

Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD): Behavior, Symptoms and Treatment

Loving someone can be a blissful feeling. When the other person doesn’t pay back the required sentiments, it can be extremely destructive for you. Almost everyone has experienced the intensity of infatuation and the pain of a broken heart. Those who have obsessive love disorder (OLD) find it hard to separate their loved ones from themselves as a result, treating them like objects or possession.

What is obsessive love disorder (OLD)?

Obsessive love disorder (OLD) describes a condition in which a person becomes obsessed with an individual and will do anything to get them, whom they may be in love with or may not be. You might become obsessive about protecting your loved ones, or even be like a controller over them.

Even though OLD has no separate psychological or medical description, it is often associated with other kinds of mental health disorders. Feel free to consult your doctor if you think you or someone you love might have the disorder. Therapy can reduce the symptoms and keep relationships happy.

Read: Broken Heart Syndrome

Symptoms of obsessive love disorder

Here are some symptoms of OLD:

  • A powerful attraction to one individual
  • Obsessive Thoughts for that person
  • Having the desire to “protect” a person you love
  • Actions and thoughts of possessiveness
  • Feeling extremely jealous over interactions with others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Rejections from Loved one

People with OLD may also have difficulty accepting rejection. Sometimes the symptoms worsen when a relationship ends or if you are rejected by someone.

The following are additional signs of OLD:

  • Keep messaging the person that you are interested in with texts, emails, and phone calls
  • Constantly seeking reassurance
  • Because of the obsession with one person, it is difficult to form or maintain friendships or contact with family members
  • Keeping a close eye on the behavior
  • Deciding what the other person does, what they wear, and what they do

Causes of obsessive love disorder

Love obsession is caused by a combination of factors. However, it may also be caused by other mental health problems like:

Attachment disorders

A person with this disorder has issues with emotional attachment, for example, a lack of obsession or empathy with another person.

There are different types of attachment disorders, including reactive attachment disorder (RAD) and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED) and both of these disorders occur during childhood particularly after a negative experience with either a parent or a caregiver.

When you’re in DSED, it’s easy to be overly friendly and not be cautious around strangers. RAD may cause you to experience stress and difficulties interacting with others.

Recommended: How to stop worrying?

Borderline personality disorder

Individuals with this condition tend to have disturbed self-esteem, accompanied by severe mood swings. A person who is suffering from borderline personality disorder might quickly change the mood from angry to happy within minutes or hours.

They also experience depression and anxiety. With obsessive love disorders, personality disorders can change an individual’s relationship with someone on the extremes between love and hate.

Check: Signs of Self-Obsessed Person

Delusional Jealousy

An individual with this disorder demonstrates an insistence on things that are already proven to be false, based on delusions (events or facts you are convinced to be true). Delusional jealousy plays a role in obsessive love by making us believe that the other person feels the same towards us, even if they have made it clear that this is not the case.

Condition of OLD disorder
Condition of OLD disorder

An article from Trusted Source in 2005 illustrates that delusional jealousy may be connected with alcoholism in men.


Erotomania is an intersection between obsessive love disorders and delusional. The person suffering from erotomania believes someone famous or of higher social status has fallen in love with him/her.

As a result, they may start harassing the other person by visiting their workplace or home. The Comprehensive Psychiatry reports that erotomania can make a person even unemployed and can isolate with few friends.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is associated with obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors combination. Despite how minor they may seem, these severe conditions can interfere with your daily routine.

In addition to that, OCD can make you reassure yourself constantly, which might negatively affect your relationships.

Some people have relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder, where obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors center around their romantic relationships. Although this subtype of OCD is not officially recognized, there are some symptoms that suggest some individuals may have it.

Check detailed: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessional Jealousy

In contrast to delusional jealousy, obsessional jealousy occurs when an intelligent mind gets fixated on the idea that a partner has cheated. In response to infidelity concerns, repetitive and compulsive behaviors may occur as a consequence of this preoccupation.

These practices take after OCD more so than delusional jealousy. You can suffer significant distress or face problems in your ability to perform basic daily tasks.

Everything you should know about: Obsession and Compulsion

Obsessive love vs. real love

Since centuries, philosophers have been unable to define “true” love. The criteria that distinguish real love from obsessive love cannot likewise be summed up in a single list. Love has enormous power. People who are in love feel a rush of dopamine and other powerful brain chemicals.

Love can be so powerful that it can drive someone to become obsessed with holding on to or controlling the one they love. While sometimes it may appear that they worship their partner, they become angry or jealous at the first sign of threat.

As a consequence of obsessive love, the partner becomes an object of consumption and ownership rather than being considered an equal. People with obsessive tendencies may have a tendency to love another person due to their own needs, rather than out of love and concern for them.

Consequently, they may not care about each other’s well-being.

Obsessive love also has the following characteristics:

Compromise and negotiation are essentials of real love, but obsessive love requires submission to the demands of a loved one.

Obsessive love involves physical or emotional violence against the other person, while real love prioritizes their well-being.

Loving someone involves accepting their flaws and recognizing their worth. It is possible to worship as well as refuse to acknowledge any flaws in obsessive love.

The object of obsessive love may sometimes appear perfect one moment, and then evil the next. Splitting occurs when a person sees the object of their love as both good and bad simultaneously.

People who are obsessed with love have a hard time letting go. In spite of the fact that breakups are painful and can result in unhealthy behavior, those who feel obsessive love may not be able to accept the end of that relationship.

An obsessional relationship may involve something that doesn’t really exist, such as a celebrity or a stranger.

Related: What is a Toxic Relationship

How OLD is it diagnosed?

Psychologists or other mental health professionals diagnose this OLD disorder with a thorough evaluation. A survey will be conducted on the symptoms of the disease and also ask you about your relationships.

It will also be important for them to know how your family is, and if any mental illnesses are known within your family. Your doctor may also need to perform a medical diagnosis to rule out other causes.

Due to OLD intersection with other mental health disorders, Obsessive Love Disorder isn’t classified on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Females suffer from OLD more than males for unknown reasons.

Treatment of OLD

A detailed treatment plan for this condition is dependent on the underlying cause. It usually also involves some form of medication as well as psychotherapy.

Medicines can be used to balance brain chemicals. As a result, symptoms of this disorder can be reduced. These may be the treatments your doctor recommends:

  • Valium and Xanax, commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications
  • Antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Antipsychotics

But, these medications may take several weeks to take effect. Several aspects of childhood can be linked to obsessive love disorder. so sometimes taking part in a therapy session with family can be helpful.

Read: Social Anxiety Disorder

Therapy may be individual or in groups depending on the severity and preferences of the patient. Occasionally depending on conditions, mental health professionals will recommend both kinds of therapy.

The following therapies can be used:

Recommended: Multiple Strategies To Control Overthinking

How to cope with obsessive love disorder 

It can be difficult to deal with obsessive love disorder. It is possible to have an illness, such as obsessive love disorder, if you notice that you are experiencing the symptoms. Feel free to speak to your physician so that they can assist you in getting the help you need. 

Feelings are important, don’t ignore them.

Don’t ignore these feelings hoping they will go away if you’ve noticed you are becoming obsessive about another person. You won’t usually be able to resolve them as long as you ignore them, and they will only get worse.

Consider a situation in which you or someone you love suffers from obsessive love disorder. If they are experiencing such triggers, group therapy may be of benefit, especially if they had attachment issues with family members or friends.

Read: How to Calm Anxiety Attacks

Instruction for people with obsessive love disorder (OLD)

While we’re seeing an increase in OLD, it’s still relatively rare. But the research says that less than 0.1 percent of people have the disorder.

If a loved one or you has a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder, please consult a doctor. It’s possible they’d recommend seeing a psychiatrist to find out whether you really have OLD. Or, there is a possibility that other mental illnesses also exist.

A positive outcome may be achieved with OLD when properly treated. One important thing, If you think you feel better, you shouldn’t stop therapy or treatment. If you suddenly stop your treatment, your symptoms can get worse, or they can come back.

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