Renfield's Syndrome

Renfield’s Syndrome (also known as clinical vampirism or Vampire Personality Disorder) is a rare psychiatric disorder in which the patient feels a compulsion to consume blood.

The disorder, first identified by clinical psychologist Richard Noll in 1992 is named after Renfield, a character in Bram Stoker's 1887 novel Dracula. Renfield is a mental patient who consumes flies in the belief that he will absorb their life force. Eventually, he begins feeding flies to spiders and spiders to birds, then consuming the birds, to obtain a greater concentration of life force. People who suffer from this illness commonly believe that they obtain some sort of power or strength through the consumption of blood.

Patients of Renfield's Syndrome are predominantly male. The disorder is typically sparked by an event in childhood in which the sufferer associates the sight or taste of blood with excitement. During puberty, the feelings of attraction to blood become sexual in nature.
The condition typically follows three stages. In the first, autovampirism or autohemophagia, the sufferer drinks his own blood, often cutting himself in order to do so. The second stage iszoophagia, which consists of eating live animals or drinking their blood. Obtaining animal blood from a butcher or slaughterhouse for consumption also falls into this stage. In the third stage, true vampirism, the sufferer's attention is turned to other human beings. He may steal blood from hospitals or blood banks, or drink blood directly from a living person. Some individuals commit violent crimes, including murder, after entering this stage.

Because Renfield's Syndrome has been described and named only recently, it has not yet been accepted into DSM 5.0. Psychiatrists shall classify this syndrome as schizophrenia or paraphilia.

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