You may have fantasized at some point about a celebrity falling in love with you. Perhaps you thought that someone had a crush on you in high school or a colleague was flirting with you at the holiday party.
But what if you never even met these people or they’ve been clear about not being interested in you? Would that be enough for you to change that belief?
Strange isn’t it? But there is a rare delusional psychological disorder which better describes these symptoms known as Erotomania.
Erotomania is a type of delusion. These are defined in psychology as firm beliefs that don’t change even when you are presented with evidence that contradicts them.
Delusions in delusional disorder may have many themes. In the case of erotomania, delusion typically presents as a fixation on someone along with a belief that they are in love with you.
This someone may be anyone, but most often it’s a public figure, a famous person, or someone considered to be of a higher social status.
This person may be someone you know, but it can also be a stranger or someone you’ve had limited contact with or who has communicated that they don’t reciprocate your romantic feelings.
A few examples are as follows;
*A person believes that a local news anchor is saying certain things on TV to get their attention.
*Someone listens for secret messages directed at them in their favourite musician’s lyrics.
*A person spends their free time finding out everything they can about a famous actor, singer, or political figure that they believe loves them.
Signs of erotomania
Not everyone experiences erotomania in the same way or with the same intensity. Its signs may be emotional or behavioural or both.
Longing for the other person, feelings of loneliness and emptiness, and low self-esteem,Feelings of guilt and shame, denial of someone’s expressions of rejection or disinterest feeling like can’t take “no” for an answer.
People may also experience jealousy and suspicion that the other person is being unfaithful to them. Also, a loss of interest in most activities, other than that person.
Behavioural signs such as getting angry at people who don’t believe them spending time on the delusion even when it’s negatively impacting work, home, or school life trying to decode secret messages directed at the person through the media, captions, wardrobe choices, postures, lyrics, or telepathically (delusions of reference) repeatedly calling, writing, or messaging someone furtively approaching someone online or in-person, harming others who get in your way of reaching the person.
Can erotomania be treated?
If a person is open to it, erotomania can be managed with professional support, which usually includes a combination of different approaches.
Talk therapy may be an integral part of the treatment plan to manage erotomania. Older research suggests that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), specifically, can be effective.
Though Erotomania is a strange disorder, it can be treated with proper counselling methods.