What is Obsessive Love Disorder? Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Love is a beautiful feeling. It’s regarded as one of the strongest emotions in the world that can inspire, motivate and give meaning to life. It gives people the power to move mountains for their loved ones. Love exists among mankind and is a cure to many hearts across the world. However, love equally has the ability to trigger devastation and despair among people. When the opposite person doesn’t return the love offered to them, it can intensify the situation. In fear of rejection of their sentiments, the person starts viewing the other one as their obsession or an object that they must have. They start obsessing over the person in an unhealthy way and this can be catastrophic for their minds.

What exactly is Obsessive Love Disorder?


Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD), In medical terms, refers to a condition where you become obsessively become engrossed and keep thinking about that one person you think you may be in love with. You may feel the need to protect the person obsessively, even if it means controlling them and treating them like an object.

It hasn’t been properly classified as a psychological, mental health condition but it can raise several mental health problems in the individual. Since love is a very strong emotion, it often takes a lot of precedence over our lives.

It’s very important to get professionally diagnosed because if this doesn’t get treated, the person can struggle to come in terms with his emotions and resort to acts of violence and abuse to let out the same. It can be severely, distressful for their mental wellbeing.

Hence, it is essential that people know and understand the complications of this symptom on their known and loved ones.

Symptoms of OLD


The symptoms of this disorder are noticeable sometimes, while in different cases it can be really difficult to trace such obsessive behaviour among the individuals. The common symptoms may include:

1. Overwhelming attraction towards a specific person

2. Obsessive and manipulative thoughts about that person

3. Feeling the immense need to ‘protect’ the person from others

4. Rallying the obsessive thoughts into small, noticeable actions and words

5. Extreme and intense jealousy of other interpersonal conversations and actions

6. Low self-esteem

7. Constant need for reassurance of self-worth

8. Inability to socialise with others at all

9. Constant messages, calls and other forms of contact with the interested person

10. Monitoring the other person’s daily day-to-day activities

Cause of the disorder

There is no singular cause for this disorder but multiple personality and psychological disorders do come into play. Mental health problems like Attachment disorders, Borderline Personality Disorders, Delusional Jealousy and a few more that combine and leave such traits in the person where they can develop obsessiveness in love and relationships. This compulsive disorders psychologically slowly destroys a person’s mind, significantly affecting their life and daily functionality.

OLD’ diagnosis and treatment


A thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist can help identify if someone has Obsessive Love Disorder. They can start by asking about the person’s likes, dislikes, preferences and relationships with their closed ones. Knowing and evaluating if there’s a mental health illness in the family can also explain hereditary problems in the individual.

Approaching a mental health professional is the first step towards identifying and treating this mental disorder.

This disorder’s treatment needs to be approached with caution. It involves a combination of selective medication and psychotherapy. As advised by the doctor, anti-depressant medication or mood stabilizers can lower the risk of this problem. It will take time, maybe days or several weeks to notice the difference the medication will make.

Psychological therapy is the best way to tackle this mental health issue. Talking, slowly relaying out their feelings can help a person to get out of their obsession. Professionals are very skilled and know to approach their mental state with just the right words. One can also engage in individual or group therapy, whichever the mental health professional seems fit.

Cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy and talk therapy can be classified as recommended therapy forms for those diagnosed with OLD.

We must remember that we have to treat this disorder with care. Though extremely rare, OLD can destroy one’s mental stability and make them seem unfit for society, because of their actions. Many still refuse to recognise the importance of addressing mental health problems, but if your loved one or anybody you know shows symptoms of this disorder, kindly take necessary steps to ensure their wellbeing.

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