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.

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: What is Stress?

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: Depression and Everything about it

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

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.

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:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Play therapy (for children)
  • Talk therapy

Recommended: Multiple Strategies To Control Overthinking

Instruction for people with Obsessive Compulsive 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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