Obsessive Love Disorder (A Comprehensive Guide)

Obsessive Love Disorder

This article will discuss obsessive love disorder in detail  and would highlight some pertinent aspects related to the disorder. In addition to that, this article reveals possible symptoms, diagnostics and treatments that offers insight into this problem.

Obsessive Love Disorder (A Comprehensive Guide)

Understanding OLD

Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD) refers to an attachment disorder. OLD involves extremely clingy, needy, over-possessive, anxious behavior. No separate psychological classification exists in the explanation of Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD), but it is accompanied and caused by other compulsive mental disorders. 

OLD is a type of mental disorder that links to a never-ending obsession with one person that can be potentially damaging for the brain and mental health in general. A person with such types of friendships and relationships can face immense problems which can lead to toxic and aggressive behavior.

Difference between obsession and love

Many people get confused between obsession and love. These two terms are not the same in any case. When you love someone you let them enjoy their personal space and you enjoy yours. But when you are obsessed with someone then it becomes difficult to get out of that mental trap. When a person suffers from OLD they show jealousy and other negative behaviors. Such negative behaviors are not good for human health and they lead to swear anxiety and depression attacks. Obsessive love disorder is most common in people who are drug addicts. People who are into alcoholism show early symptoms of OLD. 

A healthy relationship should and does not have feelings of possessiveness, discomfort, and suspicion. A common cause of obsessive love disorder may have all those factors. In extreme cases of obsessive love disorder, both male and female sides of the relationship may be perpetrators of violence in their relationship. Such cases of domestic violence may have been reported in which the factor of suspicion or jealousy was merely delusional.

Main causes of OLD

There is no proven cause of obsessive love disorder for people. OLD may be linked to other factors and OCD, as well as to psychological disorders that may be the root or triggering cause of obsessive love disorder. Some of those main mental health disabilities and disorders are:

Obsessive Love Disorder (A Comprehensive Guide)

Attachment Disorders: Attachment disorders are issues relating to the attachment that people develop in early years due to the social conduct of their parents or their caregivers. Such type of attachment disorders may include disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED) and reactive attachment disorder (RAD). In disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED) one feels very friendly and extroverted towards strangers while during reactive attachment disorder (RAD) one feels social anxiety and feel stressed around strangers.

Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline personality disorder causes excessive and rapid mood changes in the patient, leads them to go from extremely angry to happy in a matter of minutes or hours. Recurring episodes of anxiousness and anxiety are also experienced by people who have a borderline personality disorder. These disorders in personality can cause switches between extreme love for a person to extreme hatred and discomfort.

Delusional Jealousy: Delusional jealousy is when you stalk your lover to a point where you feel like your love is not reciprocated. They feel as if their lover doesn’t love then. Its because they have stuff to do in life and when a person has nothing to do in life they spend most of their time thinking about the person they love. Stalking them to always keep a check on them, and if they don’t give enough time or attention because of their duties, then the person becomes aggressive and toxic. 

Erotomania: Erotomania is the belief that someone famous, usually a celebrity, is in love with you or has feelings towards you. Erotomania can easily lead towards harassment or the celebrity, such as showing up on their home, workplace, or following them around in their daily lives. A study was done by comprehensive psychiatry shows that people who develop Erotomania are often isolated with a few friends, and may even be unemployed.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is an excessive ritual of obsessive thoughts and acts done by an individual. These acts are severe enough to interfere with other people’s daily lives. It causes the patients to seek constant reassurance which may be a factor that majorly affects your relationship. Some people develop a relationship OCD, where the individual experiences compulsive obsessions that revolve around their relationship, but this isn’t yet an identified type of obsessive-compulsive disorder by DSM 5. (Doron, 2016)

Obsessional jealousy: Obsessional jealousy is non-delusional jealousy with the perceived infidelity of the other person. This can lead to repetitive and concerning behavior in response to infidelity concerns, and these behaviors resemble OCD more that it does delusional jealousy. It can cause a substantial amount of stress and may affect the daily lives of both people.

Diagnosis of OLD

OLD is diagnosed with an evaluation form a psychiatrist or another health care professional by a series of steps. Firstly the individual is interviewed about symptoms and routines to establish a fundamental outlook of their activities. They ask about relationships, whether any compulsive or mental disorders currently exist or in the past were run down in their family. 

Obsessive Love Disorder (A Comprehensive Guide)

What are the symptoms of obsessive love disorder?

People struggling with obsessive love disorder often find It hard to have a fulfilling and love life with anyone they want. Symptoms of obsessive love disorder are commonly observed in many domestic cases. Some widely seen signs are:

  • Having strong feelings of infatuation or attraction to an individual.
  • Having obsessive thoughts about the individual to a certain point where you cannot focus on your normal life.
  • Compromising healthy relationships with family and friends to give all your attention to the object of love. 
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Feeling an element of addiction to the loved one.
  • Stalking loved one via social media i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. 
  • Feeling an extreme delusional jealousy.
  • In some cases along with OCD, one might get to violence.
  • Strong urge to control your loved one.
  • Experiencing deluding thoughts that can lead to assumptions about things that haven’t happened or aren’t true.
  • Feeling the urge to act territorial and getting all the attention of their object of love.
  • Going out of one’s way to get in contact with their loved one.
  • Having your happiness and daily life somehow dependent on that person.
  • Repeatedly calling and texting the person that you are obsessed with and disrupting their life.
  • Closely monitoring the whereabouts of a loved one and watching their activities.
  • Desiring to spend all your time with the object of your love, and often disrupting owns life without a second thought.

If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, then they need medical attention immediately.

Treatments to prevent OLD

The people who love obsessive love disorder is 0.01%, but overcoming it is important as is can easily become dangerous illness. Some of the common therapy and techniques used by people are as follows:

  1. Avoiding love: cutting off all contact with the object of your love is necessary, and the affected person needs to stop going places where they are likely to run into their object of love and throw out any items that remind them of their love object.
  1. Practice mindfulness: Be aware of your thoughts and where they wander wherever you are thinking about your love interest and monitor those feelings. Trying to keep the patient preoccupied has also proven to be helpful as their minds begin to think about other useful things that cause them to think about their love interest as little as possible.
  1. Finding a hobby: Taking up on activities that the patient is interested in can be helpful such as planting, surfing, traveling, painting, writing, or sports. Finding a hobby can be helpful as they can have increased self-esteem from practicing their new skills. (Mohammadpour, 2015)
  1. Professional help: A trained counselor or a professional psychiatrist or a doctor may help the patient talk about their thoughts and feelings, and all the factors that may have to lead them down an obsessive path that they follow. Talking about all the factors that have affected the patient’s personality can help in a better understanding of how they can seek help from psychological professionals. 

Some Helpful Resources

  1. Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go
  2. Obsessive Love: When Passion Holds You Prisoner
  3. Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love
  4. The Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love: Break Free of Unhealthy Bonds and Open the Way to True Love
  5. Addiction to Love: Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships
Obsessive Love Disorder (A Comprehensive Guide)

Conclusion

A clear medical diagnosis from a doctor may also be necessary for diagnosis to help rule out any other types of mental health disorders and OCDs because obsessive love disorder is usually due to already prevailing mental disabilities since it is not yet identified by the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM 5). For some unknown reason, there have been more reported cases of obsessive love disorder in women than in men. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is love an obsession?

Love is felt from heart. Obsession on the other hand refers to a crazy feeling which comes from the brain. Both these terms are not the same. If someone thinks that these terms are the same and he/she is crazy. 

Q2. What is obsessive behavior in relationships?

Obsession is a behaviour that refers to a crazy feeling. When the person you love gets on your mind then it becomes hard to get away from them. Obsession can be very damaging for mental health.

Q3. Is being obsessed with someone a mental illness?

Obsession can be referred to a mental illness as extreme obsession can be potentially damaging for one’s mental health. Obsession sometimes leads to psychotic and aggressive behavior which can be very toxic for the people around that person. 

Q4. How do i stop obsessing over a guy/girl?

Obsession is stoppable by forming a new life routine. When you have stuff to do in life that you love then you won’t ever obsess over someone and waste your time. Find something that inspires you and start working on it. Being productive is a good way to get rid of obsessive behavior.

Q5. What is Erotomania disorder?

Erotomania disorder is most common among females. In this disorder a person thinks that another person of higher status is in love with them.

Q6. What happens in your brain when we fall in love?

When we fall in love with a person, blood flow to the obsession part of the brain increases. It results in strong attraction and affection for the person and eventually leads to obsessive behavior.

References 

  1. Confusing love with obsession
  2. What is obsessive love disorder?
  3. Understanding obsessive love disorder and how it can affect your life?
  4. What should you know about obsessive love disorder? 
  5. How to tell the difference between obsession and love?

Obsessive Love Disorder (A Comprehensive Guide)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.