A person diagnosed with erotomania has a delusional belief that another person is in love with them in spite of the clear evidence against it. Often the object of the person’s delusions is someone of higher social status or a celebrity. The erotomaniac believes that their crush is expressing their love to them using secret language and messages.
Erotomania can develop suddenly and unexpectedly, and the symptoms are long-lasting. The object of affection is usually an older person who has a higher status than them who may have had little contact with them or not at all.
Erotomania could be a symptom of psychiatric illness, including schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, or Alzheimer’s disease. It is a type of delusional disorder like grandiosity, jealousy, or persecution.
According to experts, social media is the biggest reason for erotomania because it triggers delusional beliefs by removing the barriers between people who don’t know each other and it can easily be used for stalking, contacting, or even harassing people who would otherwise have been inaccessible.
The erotomaniac makes a constant effort to get in touch with the object of their obsession through texting, stalking, and other harassing ways of communication. The erotomaniac actually believes that their target is sending them loving messages back. And this belief can even be triggered if their target lets them know they are not interested.
Diagnosis of erotomania can be tricky because most psychiatrists may not recognize the symptoms because they don’t see this disease in their practice.
Here are the conditions which need to be met in order for a person to be diagnosed with erotomania:
- Delusions must involve possible events, even if they are highly unlikely.
- The delusion must only apply to the relevant issue, with all other aspects of the affected person’s life being functional and normal.
- If low moods or manic episodes are also present, then the duration of the delusional period must be longer than the mood or manic episode.
- Schizophrenia, mood disorders, and intoxication must all be excluded.
Treating erotomania and other delusional disorders is hard because those that are diagnosed with it may not be able to see that what they believe to be true is actually false.
Successful treatment includes therapy, medication, and in rare cases, hospitalization if the person becomes a danger to the object of their affection or to themselves. However, the patient must be first thoroughly educated about their diseases.
Luckily, the treatment is usually successful and the disease is not likely to reoccur.