The British Journal of Psychiatry
The pathological extensions of love.
P E Mullen, M Pathé


BACKGROUND Clarification is still required of the nature of pathological love.

METHOD A series is presented of 16 personally assessed cases with pathologies of love (erotomania).

RESULTS The pathologies of love usually involve a mixture of morbid infatuation and a morbid belief in being loved. They occur both in a symptomatic form, as part of an underlying mental illness, as well as in a pure form, where their emergence is to some extent understandable in a vulnerable personality. These disorders often go unrecognised to the detriment of clinical management.

CONCLUSIONS Pathologies of love create distress and disruption to the patient, and place the objects of their unwarranted affection at risk of at best harassment and at worst violence. Although this series of cases, which is drawn predominantly from forensic practice, overemphasises the risk of overt violence, the distress occasioned by pursuit and harassment alone should not be underestimated.