de Clerambault's syndrome

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Erotomania is a delusion of passion.

In this condition the patient, often a single woman, believes than an exalted person is in love with her. Usually the supposed lover is inaccessible, for example a famous television performer who she only sees whilst watching the television. The patient often believes that it is the subject of her delusion that is more in love with her than she with him, and she takes great pride in this. Also she may feel that the subject cannot live happily without her.

The patient may believe that the subject of her delusion cannot make his feelings known because of various reasons, for example difficulties in approaching her. The patient may become a nuisance to the subject and the police may get involved in trying to keep her from pestering the subject. Still she may see this action as a paradoxical sign of affection. The patient may tenaciously continue to pester the subject and might develop delusions of persecution following the delusions of passion.

This condition was originally described by de Clerambault as having a phase of hope followed by a phase of resentment.

Erotomania may be a feature of paranoid schizophrenia.

Other associations include epilepsy and a left frontal lobe lesion.

Last reviewed 01/2018