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What Is Obsessive Love Disorder?

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What Is Obsessive Love Disorder?
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The Definition Of Obsessive Love Disorder?
Obsessive love disorder is when an individual becomes excessively and irrationally attached to another person. This disorder often causes people to become highly possessive and jealous, sometimes to the point of violence.

Symptoms of Obsessive Love Disorder
– Extreme jealousy for the relationships the person you are obsessed with has with other people.
– Having obsessive thoughts about the center of your affection.
– Low self-esteem, especially when the love isn’t reciprocated.
– Noticeable compulsive behaviors
– A persistent desire for constant reassurance from the partner you’re in love with
– An intense attraction for just one individual
– The need to “guard” the one you love.
– Difficulties maintaining relationships with family members or making acquaintances due to the fixation with one individual
– Several phone calls, emails, and texts to the target of their attention
– Regulating the other person’s movements by keeping an eye on their every move

Causes Of Obsessive Love Disorder
– Attachment Disorders

Types Of Attachment Disorders That Can Cause Obsessive Love Disorder
– Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED)
– Reactive Attachment Disorder
– Borderline Personality disorder
– Delusional Jealousy
– Obsessive Versus Delusional Jealousy
– Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Treating Obsessive Love Disorder
– Mood stabilizers
– Antipsychotics
– Antidepressants [Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft]
– Anti-anxiety drugs [Valium and Xanax]

Analyze Your Obsessive Thoughts
– Do you check the number of calls you made to that person on your phone?
– Which statements have you made that seem obsessive?
– What about that person’s rejection of you infuriates you?
– What are the causes of obsessive feelings towards that person?
– How do you feel when the person is not near you?

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Is it true that thoughts of someone have overtaken your mind and you can barely think of anything else? Does that hurt when you see them with others? You are then struggling with obsessive love disorder.

Someone being overly attached to is a psychological problem that demands continuous therapy. That person’s move can be really severe, and you would come apart. Obsessive Love Disorder: A Discourse. The insights and strategies to address the issue will be revealed.

The definition of obsessive love disorder?

Let’s unravel “what is obsessive love disorder?”

Amelia Alvin, a psychiatrist at Mango Clinic, defines obsessive love disorder (OLD) as an intense fixation on someone perceived as your true love. You might transform into an overprotective figure or attempt to dominate them as if they were possessions. [1]

OLD isn’t classified as a distinct medical category but often intertwines with other mental disorders, including high functioning anxiety and other relevant issues prevalent in young people. Learn more about how this manifests in separation anxiety in teenage relationships. You should also consult your doctor if you suspect you or someone close is battling OLD. Treatment can effectively alleviate symptoms and avert relationship turmoil. [2]

Love is enchanting, but when it morphs into an obsession or a compulsion to control someone, it manifests as obsessive love disorder.

A woman stalking a man while he's on a date in a post about What Is Obsessive Love Disorder

Symptoms of obsessive love disorder

Specific traits can pinpoint obsessive love disorder. Symptoms fluctuate widely and manifest uniquely in each individual grappling with the disorder. [3]

  • Extreme jealousy for the relationships the person you are obsessed with has with other people.
  • Having obsessive thoughts about the center of your affection.
  • Low self-esteem especially when the love isn’t reciprocated.
  • Noticeable compulsive behaviors
  • A persistent desire for constant reassurance from the partner you’re in love with
  • An intense attraction for just one individual
  • The need to “guard” the one you’re in love with.
  • Difficulties maintaining relationships with family members or making acquaintances due to the fixation with one individual
  • Several phone calls, emails, and texts to the target of their attention
  • Regulating the other person’s movements by keeping an eye on their every move

People with obsessive love disorder can struggle to take criticism. Symptoms can also get worse if a relationship ends or if they are rejected.[4] Relationship Red Flags You Should Know offers tips to recognize an obsessive relationship.

What causes obsessive love disorder?

There’s no specific cause for obsessive love disorder. But, people with it often face other mental health issues. These conditions include:

Attachment disorders

People with emotional attachment disorders exhibit insensitivity or develop an obsession with someone. [5]

Most babies form a robust bond with their caretakers, experiencing fear upon separation and relief upon reunion. But, neglect by caretakers can lead some babies to develop attachment disorders, making emotional connection a challenge. [6]

Early intervention is vital; without it, children might grapple with lifelong struggles. Addressing these issues early can also prevent the development of codependency in relationships. You can even learn strategies on how to stop being codependent to foster healthier emotional connections. [7] [8]

Types of attachment disorders that can cause obsessive love disorder

DSED and RAD are two different attachment disorders listed in the DSM-5. Not adjusting or not caring about social interaction are often the first warning signs. [9]

Disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED)

Kids with DSED often seek comfort from strangers, might sit with them, or ask for help even when they’re not upset.

They may wander away from safe places or venture into unsafe ones without seeking trusted adults, and they might crave attention from strangers, showing little preference for their parents or caregivers. [10]

Reactive attachment disorder

People with emotional attachment disorders either display insensitivity or harbor an obsession with someone.

Most babies establish a strong bond with their caretakers, feeling terror when separated and relief upon reunion. However, due to caretaker neglect, some babies develop attachment disorders and struggle to forge emotional connections.

It’s essential to implement early treatment; otherwise, children could confront enduring challenges throughout their lives.[11]

Borderline personality disorder

This mental issue is characterized by self-image problems and significant mood changes.

People with borderline personality disorder can rapidly switch from angry to happy and often grapple with anxiety and depression. In the case of obsessive love disorder, personality issues can cause feelings for someone to fluctuate swiftly.

This problem typically emerges in early adulthood but can improve over time. With appropriate treatment, many individuals enhance their mental well-being and lead fulfilling lives. [12]

Delusional jealousy

Delusional jealousy disorder is characterized by an insistence on things that have been demonstrated to be erroneous and is based on delusions (false events or facts you think to be true). Delusional jealousy can make you believe that the other person has fallen in love with you even though they have made it plain that this is not the case when it comes to obsessive love.

A common example of this delusional disorder is Othello syndrome (OS), which is characterized by a false absolute certainty that a partner is unfaithful. [13]

Delusional jealousy, a mental illness that has links to other diseases like schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders, is the cause of jealous delusions. [14]

As said earlier, It is an illogical idea held by those who suffer from jealous delusions thinking their spouses have been unfaithful; these delusions are so strong they can even lead to physical aggression.

However, once a mental health professional has made a correct medical diagnosis, therapy for delusional jealousy and other delusional disorders can be successful. Extreme jealousy frequently results in possessiveness, and relationships including these components are frequently the catalyst for violent assaults, stalking, intimidation, or even worse.

Do you know that about 55% of women who are murdered are slain by current or former intimate partners, and a large majority of these cases involve severe jealousy? [15]

Most persons who have delusional jealousy won’t use force. For the sake of everyone concerned, jealous delusions are a sign of mental health issues that should not be disregarded, even if things don’t go this far. Treatment is available for delusional jealousy as well as other diseases that may be related to its emergence. The first step toward recovery is getting assessed for delusional jealousy and any co-occurring mental health conditions; being willing to change is what gives the treatment a chance to work.

Obsessive versus delusional jealousy

Obsessive jealousy is a tough problem, but it’s often missed because delusional jealousy is more common. We’ve outlined the key traits of these two types of jealousy to tell them apart and avoid wrong diagnoses and treatments.

Delusional jealousy involves strong false beliefs of a partner’s unfaithfulness. Obsessive jealousy involves constant, unreasonable jealous thoughts and checking behaviors. [16]

Treat obsessive jealousy with therapy and certain medicines because it’s like OCD. Delusional jealousy needs antipsychotic drugs because it involves a break from reality.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

OCD makes you have repeated thoughts and forces you to do certain actions over and over. It can mess up your daily life and hurt your relationships because you always need to be reassured. [17]

OCD is having unwanted thoughts and the urge to repeat behaviors.

OCD and Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD) are related in the sense that both involve repeated, unwanted thoughts and behaviors. In OCD, these thoughts and behaviors can be about anything, while in OLD, they are specifically focused on a person the individual is in love with or obsessed with. Both disorders can lead to distress and problems in daily functioning and relationships.

Obsessions and compulsions are both common in some people.

People sometimes have habits or thoughts that repeat. People with OCD have these thoughts or actions daily, and it messes up their normal life.

Some think there is a type of OCD focused on relationships, but it’s not officially recognized. People also often doubt their relationships, but usually, it’s not a big deal.

But, people with relationship OCD worry too much about being happy with their partner because of their doubts and fears.

Is obsessive love disorder a mental health disorder?

The DSM-5 doesn’t include obsessive love disorder because it’s unclear if it’s a mental health illness. Even without DSM-5 criteria, obsessive love disorder is real and can mess up daily life and relationships if not treated.[18]

How to treat obsessive love disorder?

A table outlining the treatment options for Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD)


In movies, a character saying they can’t live without their loved one seems romantic. But being obsessed with someone is bad, especially if they don’t feel the same way. It’s important to learn to be on your own before your mental health gets worse. Recognizing the signs you are healing from trauma can be a pivotal step in this journey.

The good news is you can treat obsessive love disorder with medicine and by understanding why you feel this way about the person. Analyze your obsessive thoughts and actions with care with the following questions:

  • Do you check the number of calls you made to that person on your phone?
  • Which statements have you made that seem obsessive?
  • What about that person’s rejection of you infuriates you?
  • What are the causes of obsessive feelings towards that person?
  • How do you feel when the person is not near you?

After analyzing you can then begin your treatment for obsessive love disorder.

You can let rid of these emotions symbolically by tearing or burning your letter. Fearful of being alone? Then, go meet new people, and enroll in a class or a club. Alternatively, spend some time with your family and friends. Get rid of any items, like photos or personal items, that make you think of that individual. Travel out of that area if possible.

Take any material out of your news feed on social media. Stop following them all.

You won’t constantly be reminded of that person’s existence in this way. Again, you can avoid the agony of listening to them talk to other people. You can also take action if you start to have these thoughts once more. For instance, you could pinch yourself and use it to “snap out” of negative ideas. Silly right? I know. But, it’s a good option.

Additionally, you can find a way of distracting yourself healthily. For instance, by;

  • Reading books
  • Writing articles
  • Playing games
  • Seeing movies
  • Drawing or painting

Furthermore, meditative breathing can be helpful, inhaling and exhaling for some seconds. While meditating, you can think of a place where you feel calm. It could be a chapel, a bar, or even a studio.

Conclusion

It’s an amazing and memorable feeling to fall in love, but obsessive love for someone is quite unhealthy. Obsessive love disorder can turn a romantic relationship into a traumatic, unhealthy relationship. If you notice that you have the symptoms of this disorder, do not hesitate to see a mental health professional.

If obsessive love disorder is left unattended to or ignored, your once romantic affair will turn into chaos.

FAQ

Can You Be Diagnosed With Obsessive Love Disorder?

Obsessive love disorder can’t be diagnosed using a set of rules. Your doctor will initially perform a series of examinations and ask questions to screen out other mental health conditions if you exhibit symptoms of the disease. Obsessive love disorder is usually a sign of a mental health issue.

Is Obsessive Love Disorder Dangerous?

It’s silly to ask if this disorder is dangerous. Obsessive love disorder is very destructive if left to deteriorate. In severe cases, this mental health condition can lead to suicide and death.

References

  1. BioMed Central: De Clérambault’s syndrome revisited
  2. PubMed: Delusional jealousy and obsessive love–causes and forms
  3. Integrative Life Center: Symptoms of Obsessive Love Disorder
  4. Psychology Today: Rejection Sensitivity
  5. NCBI: Attachment difficulties and disorders
  6. PubMed: Attachment Disorders
  7. Helpguide: What are attachment issues?
  8. BetterHelp: How Can Therapy Help With Adult Attachment Disorders?
  9. NCBI: Reactive Attachment Disorder and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder in School-Aged Foster Children
  10. Psychology Today: Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder
  11. Mayo Clinic: Reactive attachment disorder
  12. NCBI: Development of Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescence and Young Adulthood
  13. PubMed: The Othello Syndrome
  14. NCBI: Delusional Disorder
  15. CDC: Half Of All Female Homicide Victims Are Killed By Intimate Partners
  16. National Library of Medicine: Obsessive Versus Delusional Jealousy
  17. National Institute of Health: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  18. Psychiatry: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR)

⚠️Disclaimer:
The information provided on this health blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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