De Clerambault Syndrome

De Clerambault Syndrome otherwise called Erotomania is a syndrome which was first described by G.G. De Clerambault in 1885[1].
As Erotomania the syndrome is listed in the DSM-5 as a subtype of a delusional disorder.

The syndrome is characterized by the delusional idea, usually in a young woman, that a man whom she considers to be of higher social and/or professional standing is in love with her. She develops an elaborate delusional process about this man, his love for her, his pursuit of her, and her inability to escape his “affectionate clutches.” This syndrome may persist for a period of a few weeks to a few months in the recurrent form and be replaced by a similar delusion about another man. In the fixed form, which is the example of the case being presented here, it may persist for several years.

Patients with this syndrome may be diagnosed as having paranoid vera or other forms of paranoid disorder, or as paranoid schizophrenic. In light of the overwhelming nature of the delusional process affecting this patient's total life experience with marked delusions of persecution, grandeur, jealously, and self-depreciation as well as ideas of reference (illusions), and agitated and sometimes bizarre behavior, it seems quite appropriate that her diagnosis may be termed schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type.

Social media eliminates some of the barriers between unacquainted people and can easily be used to observe, contact, stalk, and otherwise harass people who would previously have been completely inaccessible. Social media platforms can reduce privacy, which can make stalking behavior much easier.

[1] Jordan, Howe: De Clerambault Syndrome (Erotomania): A Review and Case Presentation in Journal of the National Medical Association - 1980

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