Clerambault syndrome: what is it, symptoms, causes and treatment

You may have heard of erotomania or Clerambault syndrome, that “pathological infatuation.” Or maybe someone in your environment could be suffering from this problem. In this Psychology-Online article, we will talk about what is Clerambault syndrome, the symptoms, and causes as well as the treatment that could help your recovery. We will also address other similar syndromes such as Othello Syndrome that could be related.

What is Clerambault syndrome

Clerambault syndrome is that the person who suffers it believes that a person has initiated a loving contact with her, so she believes that she has some kind of relationship with that person. On the other hand, this person usually belongs to a work and financial environment that is very distant from the person suffering from the disorder. In some cases, the person who is the source of the delusion is imaginary or has died. Also, this can lead to a broader paranoid psychosis such as schizophrenia or mania.

Symptoms of erotomania

The main symptom of erotomanic delusion is that the person believes that there is someone in love with them and has stalking behaviors towards this person.

The person who presents the erotomanic delusion, usually a woman, ends up reproaching, vindicating the truth of the supposed attempts of romantic contact of the man and may have aggressive reactions with him, revenge and extreme behaviors in order to demonstrate that, indeed, said man tries to have a romantic contact. He believes that through subtle forms such as body postures, subtle messages through the media, whether he is a public figure, the clothing, the way of placing household objects, the supposed admirer sends romantic messages.

Causes of erotomanic delusion

Clerambault syndrome has several risk factors:

  • It is common for it to arise from another psychological disorder such as bipolar I disorder or schizophrenia.
  • The intake of alcohol and antidepressants can also produce this pathology.
  • On the other hand, it is believed that there may be a genetic factor combined with the repression of some sexual impulses.
  • In patients with erotomania, asymmetry was also found in some parts of the brain and larger volumes in other parts such as the lateral ventricles, compared to people without this disorder.

However, it is not known for sure what may be the trigger for this disorder. Both in this and in the disorders that we will see later, there have been situations in which delirium appears as a result of a deterioration of the cerebral cortex or due to alcoholism.

Also, the disorder is more common in unmarried middle-aged women who have high expectations for their life. However, men with this disorder are more likely to commit violence and harassment compared to women who have this disorder.

Clerambault syndrome treatment

Treatment is generally a combination of antipsychotic medication, antidepressants, and psychotherapy through which the person is confronted with reality, albeit gradually and not drastically.

In the most severe cases of erotomanic delirium, hospital admission may be necessary and there is generally a poor prognosis. In addition, environmental modification is also very useful, establishing routines with the person and moving him away from the environment in which the person who is the source of the delirium is.

In erotomania, as in the syndromes that we will talk about below, the use of antipsychotic drugs is frequent in order to reduce the level of activation and hallucinations of the person. In addition, with psychotherapy, the distinction between realistic and unrealistic thoughts would be worked on, different types of relaxation would be worked on, and the most irrational and alien thoughts would be modified. In addition, this can be combined with small expositions to reality, which should be done cautiously and gradually.

Clerambault syndrome treatment

Other related disorders

There are several syndromes that are also quite related to Clerambault Syndrome due to its delusional nature. One of them is the Othello syndrome, in this, the person develops the delusion that his partner is unfaithful.

The syndromes of delusional misidentification (OFDI) are syndromes that could also be related by subject to the above since its operation is similar. These syndromes are included in the syndrome Fregoli and Capgras syndrome. In the latter, the person believes that a person around him, generally a living relative, is replaced by a double, while Fr├ęgoli Syndrome is the delusional belief that different people are actually the same person in disguise.

In both erotomania and calotype (or Othello Syndrome), the person’s self-esteem would also be worked on since it has a high influence on this type of disorder.

In all of them, the person develops an obsession to show that what he defends is real. To do this, he commits behaviors of all kinds that, in the most extreme cases, end in murder. That is why, in this type of disorder, a multidisciplinary approach by professionals is necessary from the moment in which behaviors of this type begin to be identified. An early approach improves prognosis.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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