Erotomania is when you believe someone loves you when they don’t. It could be someone you’ve never met before. There is a possibility that they are famous, such as a politician or actor. Your love for this person can be so strong that you think you’re in a relationship with him or her. You may have trouble accepting facts that show otherwise.
Erotomania is a rare condition that is also known as de Clérambault syndrome. It can occur on its own. In reality, though, most people suffer from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia in conjunction with it. Generally, it lasts for several weeks to several years.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek help right away. Without it, you could do things that might not be safe for you or the other person. Choosing the right treatment may be easier with the help of your doctor.
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Types of erotomania
It is generally believed that erotomania can be divided into two groups by clinical experts.
Erotomania is a type of delusional disorder also known as de Clérambault’s syndrome.
This involves the following:
- There is no other mental health diagnosis
- Symptoms appear quickly
- Long-lasting symptoms
- Inability to respond to treatment
Erotomania secondary to delusional disorders is considered a symptom of another mental illness.
Basically, it involves:
- Symptoms of comorbid conditions
- Symptoms appear slowly and gradually
- Episode-specific symptoms
- Treatment with medication and talk therapy
Is erotomania a psychotic episode?
It can last anywhere between a few hours and a few weeks, psychosis is usually caused by a mental health condition.
You may also believe falsely that someone is in love with you, or you may have delusions about this.
The symptoms of erotomania can be similar to those of psychosis, but they don’t always overlap.
It differs from temporary psychosis if you suffer from primary erotomania, which involves a chronic pattern of thoughts and behaviors.
Who’s at risk?
Women seem to be prone to erotomania more than men. However, some studies indicate that men and women are equally at risk. Usually, it occurs in midlife or later, but can develop after puberty.
You may inherit the tendency to have delusions if your family history includes erotomania. You can also influence your mental health by your environment, lifestyle and general wellbeing. Symptoms of erotomania include:
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of rejection or loneliness
- Social isolation
- Not able to see the point of view of others
A mental disorder that affects your thinking may cause erotomania. Some of these include:
Read: Emotional disorders
Causes of erotomania
People with delusional disorders may not recognize social cues correctly. Occasionally, you may misunderstand someone’s body language or face. When they’re not flirting, you may not even realize it. This leads you to believe they are passionate about you. When you spend time alone, you can develop this idea over time.
It’s not clear why this happens. It is normal to tell yourself these stories if you are self-conscious. Some research has shown that social media is capable of worsening delusional beliefs. It is a lot easier to spy on someone online than to tell them.
Erotomania can be triggered by stress. You might seek a sense of security in a powerful person after losing someone you were close to, like a relative or close friend. They may seem to be watching over you.
Related: Attachment Disorder
One of the most obvious symptoms of erotomania is the mistaken belief that you have intense feelings for someone. Initially, it might make you feel better and boost your self-esteem. Nonetheless, you may get upset when you are informed that it’s false.
Most of the time, you act normally. The delusion may appear to be sending you nonverbal cues as it grows stronger. Even everyday items can send messages to you, such as license plates and plane lights.
The main symptom is the mistaken belief that someone loves them deeply or obsessively. It’s rare to see any evidence of love from the other person. There is a possibility that the other person is unaware of the existence of the person with erotomania.
It is not unusual for someone with this condition to constantly refer to the other person. Also, they may be obsessed with meeting this person or communicating with them.
The following symptoms are common:
- If the other person is a celebrity or public figure, you consume media related to that person with an obsession
- Always writing or sending the other personal letters or gifts
- Consistently calling the other party
- Having the feeling that the other party is trying to hide their intentions by using glances, gestures or coded messages in the news, TV shows, movies or social media
- Making it appear that the other person is stalking, pursuing, or trying to contact them using elaborate but false scenarios
- Jealousy is motivated by a belief that the other person has another “lover” or is not faithful
- Disrespecting or intimidating the other individual in public, even to the point that law enforcement is reprimanded or arrested
- Not being interested in anything other than speaking about the other person or doing activities that involve them
Cases and examples of erotomania
Several different men were allegedly in love with and pursuing a woman at various times according to a 1980s case study. It took this woman eight years to treat her case of erotomania.
According to a 2012 Psychology Today article, Robert Hoskins is the subject of a court case. As early as 1995, Hoskins became obsessed with Madonna. His belief was that she would become his wife. She reported that he climbed the wall outside of her house several times. A ten-year prison sentence was also imposed on him after he violently threatened her.
An elderly married woman suspected her former boss of loving her, so she entered a psychiatric clinic in 2016. The boss refused to meet with her because her husband prevented her from doing so.
Is erotomania dangerous?
It is possible. If you want to talk to or see this person, even if they don’t want to talk to or see you, you might try. There is a possibility that this will scare them. It may lead to charges of stalking and harassment in serious cases. When you believe something isn’t true, you might hurt yourself.
Usually, erotomania treatment addresses the symptoms of psychosis or delusions. Often, medication and therapy are used in combination. You may receive counseling or psychotherapy before receiving a diagnosis from your doctor.
There are many reasons to use classic (or typical) antipsychotics, such as pimozide. Antipsychotics other than traditional (or atypical) ones, such as olanzapine, risperidone and clozapine, may also be used in combination with therapy or counseling.
Treatments for bipolar disorder, which may result in erotomania, may be used when treating erotomania. A mood stabilizer like Lithonia (Lithonia) or Depakene (Valproic Acid) may be of benefit for bipolar disorder patients.
Read: Secure Attachment Style
A successful symptom management program may involve medication, therapy, and hospitalization to treat the underlying disorder. It depends on the individual and the underlying cause whether any of these approaches are used or not.
It is important that therapy provides the affected person with education about their illness and helps them adhere to a treatment plan. An affected person may need hospitalization if they become a danger to themselves, to others, or to anyone else.
It is possible to treat the underlying disorder with antipsychotic medications and control symptoms effectively. It is possible to combine medication and psychotherapy.
Treatment plans should take social media into account when dealing with problematic behaviors.
Associated conditions and complications
People suffering from erotomania may exhibit risky or aggressive behavior. Sometimes, this behavior can result in a stalking or harassment charge. Erotomania can cause death in rare cases.
Bipolar disorder is often associated with erotomania. Additionally, this condition is linked to the following:
- Anxiety disorder
- Drug or alcohol dependence
- Bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Erotomania may last just a few hours or days, but it may persist for months or years if the cause of it is a mental health condition.
You should seek medical attention or see a therapist as soon as possible if you notice symptoms of erotomania. It is crucial to have erotomania treated before you engage in risky or aggressive behavior towards another person to prevent it from disrupting both their and your lives.